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  • Rev Horror

The Skinwalkers: American Werewolves 2

Dir. Seth Breedlove (2024)

Small Town Monsters investigates Skinwalkers in modern Native American culture.

We've covered a ton of Small Town Monsters' documentaries here, and I'm a big fan of the type of docs that they bring to the world. Cryptids (and cryptid culture) is fascinating, these American legends of bizarre creatures and otherworldly phenomena that have permeated seemingly every level of our culture. One of the scariest is the Skinwalker, a creature that can imitate any creature, including your loved ones, in an effort to stalk their prey. Unlike the werewolf, which comes from the European folklore surrounding changelings, the Skinwalker is a much more versatile creature, able to change into anything from a deer to a little old lady whenever it pleases. It's a uniquely American creature, reflective of our extremely diverse fauna and our overall culture in general.

Small Town Monsters has a unique brand of documentary, mixing first-hand interviews with dramatic recreations and illustrated examples of the creatures their documentaries are discussing. They do a great job of painting the historical picture while keeping everything very modern, leaving open the possibility that you could personally run across any of these creatures if you live in the area they are said to haunt. It's a nice combination of music, visual media, and interviews that do a great job of telling their story and remaining interesting throughout.

The first-hand encounters are interesting from a sociological perspective as well. Some of the people are happy to tell their story on camera, while others disguise their voices and appear as blacked-out anonymous storytellers. This feels par for the course for cryptid stories, of course: believing in these "mythical" creatures is far more likely to alienate someone than it is to win them any friends. Nevertheless, telling your story at all if brave, putting your experience out to the world that is filled with far more unbelievers than believers. STM does a great job of gathering these people together, exposing the rest of the world to whatever it is that these people thought that they saw.

As with many of their other docs, a lot of these stories are also pretty explainable. In the Southwest, it would be much easier to believe that these people saw the animals the Skinwalker is supposedly imitating than that they saw a Native American shapeshifter. They're convinced, however, and they're also fairly convincing. While they may not be right, they definitely believe, and their stories come across as true or at least true to them. There's something to be said about that, and I've always appreciated the respect that Small Town Monsters pay these people who universally have fantastical stories and eerie experiences. It would be so easy to disregard some of these people as crazy, but STM once again shows these stories at face value and lets the viewer judge for themselves.

I don't know that I'd say that I believe in cryptids, per se. I more believe in the possibility that some of these things exist. The world is a vast, unexplored place, and it would be awfully arrogant of us to assume that something doesn't exist just because we haven't seen it. It's also awfully easy to lump people who do believe in these creatures with flat earthers or anti-vax lunatics, too. STM's insistence on respecting these folks is nice, and it gives the viewer a much more in-depth picture of these alleged creatures than they might otherwise have. If you're a fan of cryptids, whether you believe or not, I definitely recommend giving The Skinwalkers: American Werewolves 2 a chance.

Who this movie is for: Cryptid lovers, Documentary fans, Medicine men

Bottom line: Small Town Monsters and director Seth Breedlove once again deliver a watchable documentary about a terrifying legendary creature, and if you're a fan of cryptid docs, I definitely recommend checking it out. Through first-hand accounts and scary illustrations, Breedlove weaves an excellent depiction of one of the more terrifying creatures in American folklore. You can grab this one or any of their other docs (and merch!) from Small Town Monsters.

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