Sheep Skin is not a new film, released in 2013, but it can certainly be categorized as new to me. That said, after checking local (Connecticut, home to The Pint) filmmaker Kurtis Spieler’s first outing, I felt the need to share my opinion with you. The odds are you may have not seen this small budgeted revenge thriller/maybe, possibly werewolf movie and I aim to get you to change that.
The film centers around the good old plot device of mistaken identity. You know, what 6 out of 10 episodes of Three’s Company revolved around, and oh so many other sitcoms have used in the past. Except here, it is a little more serious, and possibly not a mistake at all. The members of a punk band called The Dick Punchers have kidnapped sleazy douchebag businessman Todd. We know he’s a douchebag because he is wearing one of those solid blue button up shirts with white cuffs and collar. Really, who the fuck invented that? Anyways, Todd is seen immediately to be a bit of a creep when it comes to the ladies. He hits on his new office temp no sooner than hanging up the phone from his wife who suspects that he is what he is….a pig. The question in this film isn’t whether Todd is or isn’t a pig, the question that the members of the band want to find out is if Todd is a werewolf or not.
Schafer, leader of the band and man in charge of the abduction is out for revenge. For reasons not to be revealed here, his sister has been gruesomely murdered and he suspects Todd, or at least a hairier, toothier version of Todd. Through some sleuthing, it appears that all signs and evidence point to Mr. Blue Shirt and furthermore, a lycanthrope. This film utilizes a small cast and everyone is good, but I would be remiss if I did not credit Michael Schantz as a real standout. His portrayal of Schafer feels rooted in the reality of a guy who has lost someone and is willing to cross some serious lines to get answers as to why. Schantz has an Adam Driver quality about him, not traditionally good looking, but tons of leading man appeal. The story presents a few options as to what may actually be happening here, before it comes to it’s conclusion, in which enough had transpired between the characters and their stories that I was still surprised. And 15 bonus points for a fantastic last shot, really memorable.
Kurtis has since written and directed The Devil’s Well, another fine entry into the horror film genre, and one of my favorite films of 2018. We had Kurt on the radio show and have become friendly with him, to the point that after I purchased my copy of Sheep Skin I was nervous that I’d have to tell him that his debut feature sucked. Or I’d have to lie to him, or move to another country to avoid him, or have him move to another country because that would honestly be more convenient to me. Well, crisis averted because I really dug this film and can heartily recommend it to you fine readers of The Pint. There are horror elements in it for sure, but you also get some great interplay and a whole load of self doubt from all of these characters. Is Schafer nuts for not only believing in werewolves, but believing Todd is one? Does Schafer’s evidence and argument move the needle in Todd’s own brain on whether he may think this is possible? Kurt delivers a well written script, and a confidently directed and produced film. Oh, and when we do get some supernatural action, the way those scenes are handled while trying to account for the budget reminded me of the innovativeness of Jaws, and Alien, two films that only give you brief glimpses of their creatures. I recommend a double feature of Sheep Skin and The Devil’s Well if you want to get a pulse for someone in the indie scene making some really low budget, yet really excellent fare. Check Kurt’s production company out
here, and see you next time!