According to backstory, in the 1970s a doctor at a European mental institution tortured and killed his patients. He filmed all of it. Now, in the 2000s, a film crew is in that same, now abandoned institution, filming a movie about the atrocities that happened in the '70s.
Of course, the crew happens to find a secret room with all the doctor's films in it and the movie director becomes obsessed. He decides to finish the doctor's work.
Skeleton Crew is badly acted and barely makes sense and, somehow, that works in the movie's favor. I don't know why but, much like Pep Squad, this movie would have sucked in the hands of capable actors.
There are plot holes (the most obnoxious one: there's a crew member (the actor playing the Boyfriend) who disappears after the first sequence; there's no explanation for it, he doesn't get killed, he's just gone), unexplained supernatural type stuff and a lot of dumb references to "We're in a horror movie, we have to follow the rules."
That was actually what bugged me most about the movie. After Scream came out, a large portion of slasher movies decided they were film savvy, too, and decided to have their characters talk about "the rules." It was a gimmick in Scream, a pathetic gimmick in Screams 2 and 3, and in every non-Scream movie it sounds even stupider. Skeleton Crew loses extra points because they don't make an attempt to explain what the rules are. One character actually ends the "following the rules" line with "Let's go to the basement." ...I'm sorry, what?! Be it a rule or just some advice, going into the basement is always a bad idea. Anyone in any other movie where they yammer about the stupid rules could tell you that!
In spite of that, I actually really liked Skeleton Crew. It was very stupid. It was also a lot of fun. And I get the impression nobody was taking the movie too seriously. I like that.
I imagine the writer didn't write a script so much as he wrote the following checklist:
- girls in underwear
- pun-spouting villain
- funny accents (they claim to be an American crew, but I counted entirely two people with American accents)
- incomprehensible twist
- incomprehensible stinger
Everything got thrown into a pot and we ended up with a pretty good soup.
Too bad the writer didn't bother to add "explanations" to the checklist. 'Cause I liked the incomprehensible twist but then they didn't actually do anything with it. If they took out the incomprehensible twist, the only thing the movie would have lost would have been that nonsense about following the rules. Which, honestly, would have improved it.
What they should have done was give their incomprehensible twist to a movie that would have worked with it.
End of line.