“Skeletons in the Closet” works best when it tries to break free from it’s “movie-of-the-week” melodrama that chains it too often. It’s best is when it presents one of today’s most modern fears – that our children might be capable of being monsters.
Treat Williams plays the father, raising his teenaged son (Jonathan Jackson) on the New Hampshire coast. The son is rebellious, like any teenager but almost dangerously so. Prone to keeping to himself and lashing out in a violent manner, when unsolved murders begin to turn up, Dad begins to suspect that his son may be involved.
The film marks the first feature to be financed by a studio that is shot on high definition, and the format really doesn’t add or detract from the film. It’s directed by Wayne Powers, the husband part of a team that wrote the b-movie blast that was “Deep Blue Sea” and the b-movie crap that was “Valentine”. Powers gets good performances from his actors, even if the film seems hampered by a movie of the week sensibility – it needs a bit more flair to make it. Which is a shame, considering that the subject matter is timely in wake of tradgedies of Columbine as saying that maybe our children aren’t the dear little angels we think them to be. “Skeletons in the Closet” also works best when it’s playing against our expectations, as there’s some doubt as to whether or not Williams might be the disturbed one in the family. All in all, “Skeletons in the Closet” is a decent little thriller, even though it can’t break from its cliched mold when it should.