Dir. Michael J. Murphy
A woman who runs a meat production business helps a fleeing mental patient escape. He assists in her business, but soon learns that the business is not as clean as it seems.
Skare is a low budget British flick that actually got made twice. The director originally filmed it in 2001 on 16mm film, but it got lost in the mail. Like, it literally disappeared on the way to the production facility, and he lost $10,000 worth of finished product. Now, that’s a lot of money for a lot of folks, but it usually wouldn’t have been a dent in a film production budget, but in a film with a budget this small, it’s incredibly damaging. He wasn’t able to revisit the film until 2007, when he remade the entire thing. I’m not saying that it wasn’t worth it, but… well, yeah, it wasn’t particularly worth it.
The plot revolves around a woman named Martha who runs a meat business. She takes in a fleeing mental patient named Dan, with the condition that he helps her with the business and keeps himself in excellent physical condition. He agrees, naturally, because he doesn’t want to go back where he came from, and she plies him with her cooking and her mysterious green-tinted “milk.” She deals with a nosy neighbor who keeps coming around trying to pry into her business, and Dan eventually starts to be concerned that it might not be the safest place to be.
Martha really doesn’t want him to leave, and she does everything in her power to prevent him from doing so. Her efforts are aided by the presence of next-door neighbor Charlotte, who Dan spies sunbathing by the pool and immediately falls for. Martha knows Charlotte well (a little too well, if you catch my drift), and immediately starts plotting to use Charlotte to keep Dan in check.
Well, surprise surprise, Martha’s meat business isn’t exactly on the up and up. Turns out, she’s selling human meat, because of course she is. Dan learns this fact rather eventfully when he finds a severed head in the fridge, which really seems to be the best place to keep a severed head if horror movies are to be believed. Naturally, he’s freaked out, and decides to immediately make his escape from the premises. This is where Martha’s plans regarding Charlotte come into play. She drugs Dan and coerces him into a threesome with her and Charlotte, and Dan decides to tough it out and remain in the house.
Dan is falling for Charlotte, Martha is falling for Dan, and the love triangle becomes a rather soap opera-esque affair. When Martha realizes that her love interest wants someone else, she tricks Dan into murdering Charlotte, eventually bringing the whole business crashing down around her. There’s a lot more that happens throughout the runtime of the movie, but most of it is uninteresting and rather dull. And that’s where this movie falls short.
It is, indeed, a movie, but it really feels more like an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents or something of the sort, and not a good one at that. I applaud the director’s efforts in remaking the film, because its obviously a labor of love. I got to watch the film with a director’s commentary in the background, and he’s really quite proud of it. And hey, I can get behind that: you should be proud of what you do in life. Unfortunately, I’ve seen some of his other work (production on Invitation to Hell, a made for television Wes Craven-directed film, which was, sadly, a better film, though that’s not saying much), so I know that he’s not particularly good at what he does. It’s just a generally dull, lifeless sort of movie.
All in all, it’s a super low budget film with some interesting imagery, including some nice dream-like sequences and hallucinations that actually worked quite well. There were some beautiful shots, like the scene where Charlotte’s blood is splattered in a field of flowers, but the gore was very underwhelming for a movie with this kind of plot. It is very reminiscent of early Hammer Horror or Herschel Gordon Lewis flicks, where the blood is bright red but not particularly believable, and you really have to put more effort into a film made in the 21st century. When your gore looks like a less well-done version of 60’s gore, even though it was made in 2007, it starts to actually take away from the movie itself. But even with all of that said, the biggest problem with this film is that it has an interesting plot that’s been done better so many times. I can’t count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen this done, and quite frankly, the 30-minute Tales From The Crypt episode involving the diner that sells human flesh (“What’s Cookin'”, from 1992) was WAY better done than Skare.
Bottom Line: This is one to skip, as its not really worth your time. There are much better efforts out there that are worth watching, including that rather excellent TftC episode I mentioned. Take in one of those, don’t bother with this one.