The horror career of director Sevé Schelenz is still in its infancy, but I figured I’d cover his first two films because they’re so completely different from each other, which always gets me to pay attention to a director’s output. So here’s a quick look at found footage flick Skew and zombedy Peelers.
It’s not unusual these days for directors to break into the horror genre with found footage films. But having watched Peelers first, I can tell you, Schelenz is so much better than this film would have you think.
As a low budget found footage film, it checks off all the boxes. Friends go on a road trip, heading for a wedding. They have a camera and film everything. There’s interpersonal drama, but they also keep experiencing weird shit, like hitting a coyote on the road, witnessing a car accident, and being present when someone gets shot during one of their stops.
Then the guy filming starts to not only see people with fucked up eyes appearing only through his lens but not in the real world, he also sees the faces of actual people getting all warped on camera; think the photos of people taken in The Ring.
Everything starts off engrossing and intriguing enough, but honestly, nothing comes together here—or perhaps the deeper meaning is a bit too abstract to come across within the narrative limitations of a found footage film. It’s never quite clear why all this strange shit is happening or why the characters lose their shit in the usual “shocker” scenes at the end. Were these camera apparitions ghosts, demons, or angels of death? Is possession involved? Why are these kids targeted/victims? Not sure.
With so many found footage films out there and so few of them actually worth watching, Skew is a perfect example of why directors who are clearly much better than this trendy subgenre should go straight for making the kind of movie they are more than capable of pulling off. Like Peelers, for instance…
When the premise for Peelers was established in the first few minutes—a chick is about to lose her strip club to a greedy asshole—I was like, “Holy shit! It’s Burlesque with zombies!”
In a way, Peelers is a better-controlled version of Zombie Strippers. While that film was loads of trashy fun, it kind of runs away with itself in its effort to be totally over-the-top.
Peelers, on the other hand, is perfectly trashy (squirting and queefing strippers, for instance), but we get stronger main characters as well as very distinct zombies.
Some are characters in their own right, because these nasty fuckers are smart and even use weapons to do some disgusting damage! So shit gets quite personal as they hunt down our heroes.
The gore is great, the guys are hot, the girls kick ass, and the action never lets up once the first zombie starts puking up nasty black shit in the restroom
Peelers immediately got added to my “must add to my collection” list. hell, it even managed to deliver a female lap dance scene that had some action I could enjoy.
My only criticism…this guy never takes his short off.
Which is why I’m just going to have to check him out in the David DeCoteau film Evil Exhumed.