15th Sep2021

‘Skinwalker: The Howl of the Rougarou’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Written and Directed by Seth Breedlove

I really enjoy listening, reading and watching about local folklore. There’s thousands upon thousands of stories to be told of creatures that lurk in the dark. They are more often than not, tales that have been told for hundred’s of years and their legend has only grown stronger but when the story is told well, it doesn’t necessarily matter if you believe in it or not.

It has apparently been 400 years since the legend of the Rougarou was first told and now the creature and its stories have begun again. Seen and talked about in the American south the Rougarou is a creature that settled there long before immigrants settled in the region. A cannibal tribe of shapeshifters who lost touch with humanity after retreating deep into the forests. Now 400 years later the Rougarou is something akin to a werewolf that occasionally haunts the people living in the nearby swamps and marshes.

This documentary speaks to local experts on the ‘Cajun Werewolf’, aswell as witnesses who claim to have seen the creature. Each witness tells pretty similar stories of being in or near the woods and seeing this werewolf-looking creature with red eyes and a growl that is impossible to describe. One witness though does tell a tale of the creature entering her home and her bedroom but seemingly not to attack her, just warn her to return some buried artefacts.

Many of these stories do sound a bit ridiculous but that’s no real surprise when we’re talking about a werewolf. And while the local experts do add some credibility to the interviews, many of the locals do seem like the stereotypical type of person who would have ‘seen’ a werewolf (or an alien, or a zombie, or a vampire. You get my point). Either that or they are very gullible or just telling straight up lies. Thankfully they are mostly interesting to listen to. Some of their stories are shown in some form of re-enactment, which are mostly not that great.

That said, Skinwalker: The Howl of the Rougarou does feature nice and likeable people. It also shows the places the folktale is told in and how it brings the towns together (a recent festival on the legend is helping with this) and it shows how horror stories can bring a strange kind of happiness to communities.

The most likely scenario with the Rougarou is explained in the film, that this is a story originally told to stop children running and playing in the dangerous forest and swamps on their own. But I could personally listen to stories like this all day. The creepy voice-over narrating the documentary and the not-so-great re-enactments only add to the fun. This is kept short therefore remains entertaining for much of its runtime. Those seeking out this documentary will already know that they will enjoy it, so if you that person, check it out.

Skinwalker: The Howl of the Rougarou is out now on VOD, Blu-ray & DVD from Small Town Monsters.

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