For centuries, stories have persisted throughout the southern swamps of something truly otherworldly: a terrifying, hirsute creature known by locals as the Rougarou. Small Town Monsters and director Seth Breedlove peel back the curtain on this unheralded beast in their latest documentary Skinwalker: The Howl of the Rougarou. Breedlove interviewed witnesses and local experts who help to unveil the creature who will be featured in this first-ever look at what is often referred to as the Cajun Werewolf.
Director: Seth Breedlove
In order to give what we believe to be a more unbiased constructive criticism of the piece, the members of Bloodhound Pix are tackling each review as a panel of three. None of the members know the others’ thoughts on the content until after they submit their initial response.
K. The Howl of the Rougarou investigates the myth of the Rougarou, a skinwalker/werewolf creature in Native American folklore. The film interviews various locals, introducing to the area and weaving in several accounts of the Rougarou. This is part of the series Small Town Monsters which explains the episodic feel and the short runtime.
I was not familiar with this particular twist on the werewolf mythos, so that was pretty interesting to discover. Unfortunately, the stories told are not terribly compelling so this fell a bit flat for me. Obviously, given that this is a myth or an urban legend there is a degree of detachment expected (“This happened to my brother, uncle, sister…”, etc.), but that doesn’t make for an entertaining watch either. There isn’t quite enough material to justify an hour runtime.
J. Full disclosure: I watch a lot of Travel Channel programming. One program in particular that's one of my favorites is Paranormal Caught On Camera. I love that shit. In 4 seasons and 20 or so eps per season, I think I could count on one hand the number of eps I haven't seen. The show runs the gauntlet of supernatural/paranormal entities like the rake, the wendigo, the skinwalker, and a number of other random-as-hell entities that I can't remember. I bring this up because I was excited to see this based on the fact that I'd never heard of the infamous rougarou in all my Travel Channel paranormal viewing. This doc is structured a lot like the show I mention too, with history and mythology and then real people with their real life rougarou encounters. I'm not going to get into that history or mythology but the rougarou is essentially a werewolf-like creature specific to Louisiana. The filmmakers do the requisite reenactment segments which were well done I must say, especially because some of the real-life accounts were creepy as hell. I did, however, want to see someone's actual footage of this thing which would have been amazing. The reenactments even used a handheld, poor-video-quality to stage such segments. And then the history and mythology of the creature is mentioned often and it tends to be really confusing and not quite understood, even by the people speaking. It's a wolf and it's malevolent. But then it's a rabbit and it doesn't care about you. And then if you see it you can't hunt in the woods for 101 days or some shit like that. Or if you happen to be driving down a particular road and see a person dressed in all white, avoid that motherfucker like nothing else because it's a rougarou. It gets a little convoluted to say the least. I should also mention, I never watch documentaries so I'm being very surface level with this review. It is around 70 minutes, which is nice but the repetitive nature makes it seem longer than it needs to be.
J. If you like Travel Channel and all the paranormal shit they show on a regular basis… you’ll probably dig this as the rougarou is such a random ass entity. If you don’t like the aforementioned Travel Channel programming… you’ll wanna skip this one.
K. I agree with Josh on this one. It’s a quick, satisfying watch in the vein of a reality TV type documentary. But it does get a bit repetitive even with such a short runtime. However, it’s probably the one movie on the Rougarou that I know of, so that makes it worth checking out.
Bloodhound’s average score: 2.5 out of 5
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