As time trudges on, I find that people are less and less interested in the documentary genre. Most see the genre as flat and boring but I have always been a huge fan of documentaries. History, true crime, science; whatever the subject, I am usually a fan. Two of my favorite types of docs to watch are paranormal and alien subjects. I had a chance to see the soon-to-be released documentary HUNT FOR THE SKINWALKER, which covers both of my favorite subjects.
HUNT FOR THE SKINWALKER is written and directed by Jeremy Kenyon Lockyer Corbell. It is based on the best-selling book written by George Knapp and Colm Kelleher, Ph.D of the same name. Both Knapp and Kelleher appear in the documentary to explain the strange occurrences they researched for their book. Along with them are witnesses, the filmmaker himself, celebrities, and locals who have had their own experiences and those who have stories to tell.
HUNT FOR THE SKINWALKER centers on the mysterious and elusive Skinwalker Ranch. With hours and hours of unviewed footage from an investigation launched by Bob Bigelow, who bought the ranch property, and a team of scientists deployed in the area, Corbell hopes to share the findings in the wake of the announcement by the government of funded programs involving the search for UFOs. Skinwalker Ranch is located in Ballard, Utah and is intertwined with the local Navajo legends of a shapeshifting creature called the Skinwalker. But legendary creatures aren't the only supernatural occurrence that this property houses. Strange lights and UFOs are often seen in the area and, based on an eyewitness account from HUNT FOR THE SKINWALKER, interaction with these lights may even be fatal.
HUNT FOR THE SKINWALKER is a mix of new footage and interviews along with older collected footage to piece together the strange happenings in the area. At a hefty 2 hours and 6 minutes, this documentary has a lot to say. However, as much as I love documentaries and learning in general, I found this one a bit difficult to get through. The pace and energy of this documentary was akin to overcooked chicken breast, that is to say it was pretty dry. It was packed full of information but its delivery left the viewer needing more from it. The voice over seemed too dramatic with the edits and then there are long, LONG periods of talking without much going on.
For more seasoned documentary fans, that isn't even a challenge, but for younger and more impatient audiences, they may find it a bit hard to connect. Perhaps if the documentary were 30 minutes shorter or the footage was a bit more engaging, it wouldn't end up being a chore to work your way through. This isn't a bad documentary. On the contrary, it has a lot of interesting points and stories that will leave you with a lot to think about. I just wish the delivery was more engaging to its viewers considering its lengthy runtime.
HUNT FOR THE SKINWALKER releases digitally September 11th. As long as you aren't expecting a rip-roaring and fast-paced two hours, this documentary is a good way to learn ya' a little somethin' about a mysterious and magical part of the country.
D. D. Crowley