It’s never easy when you watch something that just angers you to your core.
When you see a movie that offends all of your senses, that stands as an affront to the entire craft of film-making, that frustrates and obfuscates to the point that you question why you’re even sitting there, wasting precious time.
That’s not fun.
That’s not enjoyable.
And that’s “Skyman,” the latest solo venture from writer-director Daniel Myrick, one-half of the creative team responsible for birthing the ‘found footage’ genre with “The Blair Witch Project.”
“Skyman” is the story of a man named Carl Merryweather who believes he met an extraterrestrial being as a 10-year-old, and who is convinced that this being is coming back for him on his 40th birthday to take him into outer space.
“Skyman” is 92 minutes long. You have to suffer through 85 minutes of nothing just to hear something happen. And that something is a loud hum. That’s right, a loud hum.
A minute later, you see something. And that something is a pair of legs lift up off the ground.
And that’s it.
That’s. Fucking. It.
0 out of 5 stars.
Run Time: 92 minutes
Let me explain it this way. We’re in a global pandemic. Thousands of people are dying. Every day. Each trip into the outside world means possible exposure to a disease that kills indiscriminately.
About midway through “Skyman,” I actually asked myself, how would I feel if this was the last movie I ever saw?
And I knew without any doubt that I would be incredibly pissed. Because I love movies. I love the experience of watching them, of absorbing them, of analyzing them and trying to decode them.
If “Skyman” was the last movie I ever got to see, I would feel cheated.
I would be so pissed that I would want to become a ghost just so I could haunt Daniel Myrick for the rest of his days, so that maybe, if I was a good enough ghost, I could frighten the shit out of him with the hope that he might be inspired to make a good movie, a scary movie, a movie that someone like me might watch and actually recommend.
And it’s not like I’m over here beating a drum that “Skyman” is the worst movie ever made. It’s not.
It’s competently made. Billy Corgan contributed to the score. And, at least early on, it’s pretty interesting. But then it stops being interesting, and it becomes little more than a collection of scenes of Michael Selle, the actor who plays Carl, standing around looking at rocks, staring off into sunsets, setting up sensors to detect the Skyman’s arrival and grimacing at the idea that he’s completely wackadoo.
You just can’t make a movie about an event where you build, and build, and build anticipation some more, about that event, and then not deliver some kind of payoff.
Otherwise, what’s the point? Why make this movie if you have zero intention of showing an alien creature that’s fulfilling a promise it made to a boy 30 years before?
How do you honestly expect an audience to feel if you stoke their expectations and whet their appetite for some awesome E.T. goodness, and then all you give them is some night-vision shaky-cam bullshit and a pair of feet leaving the top of the frame.
There are people who fully despise “The Blair Witch Project” for just this reason. They feel they were ripped off by the ending because they never got to see a witch.
Personally speaking, I love the ending of “Blair Witch.” It’s unexpected, it’s effective, it sticks in your memory. In fact, I kept a nightlight on for like a week because I was genuinely afraid of waking up and seeing Mike standing facing the corner of my bedroom.
But there could have been more. There could have been a better payoff.
Not to mention, it has been 21 years. Find another gimmick. Grow as a filmmaker. Evolve.
It is clear to me now that when Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez made “Blair Witch,” the good parts of that movie were all Sánchez.
This is just my theory. I may be wrong, but here’s why I believe that.
Since “Blair Witch,” Sánchez has directed a slew of genre television episodes, as well as helmed and/or contributed to six feature films. Two of those films, “Lovely Molly” and “Exists,” I consider to be among the best genre entertainment released in the past 20 years.
Since “Blair Witch,” Myrick also has made six feature films and/or TV movies. They’re okay, not great. But, most importantly, he made “Skyman,” a movie about one man’s journey to meet an alien face-to-face that ends without ever showing the outcome.
I implore you to go seek out “Skyman” and see for yourself.
Maybe I’m the crazy one.
And, if so, tell me.
Write me letters calling me bad, bad names for being such a mean-spirited, review-writing sumbitch.
But if you agree with me, shout it from the rooftops. Post it online. Shake the rafters so furiously that Myrick knows that it’s not just that asshole Allman who thinks he can do better, it’s all his other fans too.
In the end, that’s the point, after all.
Be better. Grow as a filmmaker. Evolve.
Don’t just settle for the build-up.
Pay it off.
John W. Allman has spent more than 25 years as a professional journalist and writer, but he’s loved movies his entire life. Good movies, awful movies, movies that are so gloriously bad you can’t help but champion them. Since 2009, he has cultivated a review column and now a website dedicated to the genre films that often get overlooked and interviews with cult cinema favorites like George A. Romero, Bruce Campbell and Dee Wallace. Contact him at Blood Violence and Babes.com, on Facebook @BloodViolenceBabes or on Twitter @BVB_reviews.