Production: Twentieth Century Fox, 1997
Running Time: 44 minutes
Alex is hoping to get some good photos of something scary to enter in a magazine contest, but isn't prepared when he finds horror under his own roof. Sent to stay with Aunt Myra and Uncle Colin in the tiny town of Wolf Creek, he hopes to stave off boredom by entering a magazine's amateur "Shudder Shot" contest. Though his relatives warn him away from the weird neighbors, Alex hangs around their house hoping for a good scare...and discovers werewolves living practically in their backyard, who come to his uncle's house at night looking for him!
Though his school friend Hannah advises Alex to give up trying to rid the town of the menace, Alex learns that destroying a werewolf's shed skin will destroy its evil powers. He plans to get ahold of the skins and a prize-winning photo all in the same night, not guessing that rabid animals under his own roof are aware of his plans, and have plans of their own to protect him. Can Alex save his aunt and uncle from themselves, and discover Hannah's stake in the situation before it's too late?
Best For Ages:
6-8: The actual werewolves are less scary than the buildup, though suggestions that Alex's guardians could hurt him might upset children.
9-12: As werewolf stories go, this one has humor and an interesting story that ought to entertain older kids.
Educational Value: Out to recess. No history of werewolves or photography.
Entertainment Value: Highly cheesy werewolf costumes add an unintentional note of humor in an otherwise well-filmed "Goosebumps" installment, with well-lit night sequences and creepy shadows in the woods.
Violence: Werewolves attack people. A boy burns the animated skins of werewolves.
Frightening Situations: A child discovers that his aunt and uncle turn into bloodthirsty killers when the moon is full.
Questionable Behavior: As always in "Goosebumps," kids torment one another for being afraid. They also sneak out of the house after dark, disobey adults who are under the influence of evil supernatural forces, and carry weapons.
A witty story and a strong central character make this one of the series' better installments, though the eerie visual effects of WEREWOLF SKIN I makes the dreadful costuming of WEREWOLF SKIN II seem sillier than necessary. Alex has brains, compassion, and a sense of humor, though it should take the viewer far less time to figure out why his aunt and uncle always go out at night than it takes their nephew.
The climax is a foregone conclusion, but the pacing and humor hold viewer interest. Some of the humor is a bit macabre - "We had a bite last night" says Uncle Colin to explain why he's skipping breakfast, as Alex reads a newspaper headline about three missing hunters.
A six-year-old viewer preferred the "Goosebumps" episode THE WEREWOLF OF FEVER SWAMP, which he found scarier than WEREWOLF SKIN, but enjoyed the banter between Alex and his friends. Kids who watch this series for real scares may find these werewolves too tame, but younger children who frighten easily may enjoy the close family ties and warm bonds of friendship.