One of the creepiest movies I have seen in a long time is now on Shudder, named Skinamarink, and it was directed by Kyle Edward Ball.

Not only is is one of the creepiest films I have seen for quite a while, but it is also one of the oddest, especially in terms of structure. Skinamarink does not have much of a narrative, and you have to pay close attention to really understand a plot. You never see the faces of any of the characters, outside of a couple of quick flashes, and the sound mixing of the film is difficult to hear or to make out.

The basic plot is that there are two kids, Kaylee, who is six, and Kevin, who is four, and they wake up in their house in the middle of the night to discover that their father has disappeared and the doors and windows of the house have vanished. After that, there are some unbelievably frightening things that happen (or do they?).

Skinamarink legitimately put me on edge from the moment it started. I kept focusing on the screen, waiting for something to happen that would explain to me what the film was going to be about and how it would be structured, and that just never came. It kept me unnerved from start to finish and I was tense and anxious, staring at the darkness on the screen and wondering why these moments were occurring.

I listened to William Bibbiani’s podcast, Critically Acclaimed, when he spoke of Skinamarink and he used the perfect word to describe the movie. He said that the film was about “dread.” I agree with that assessment completely. I felt dread through the entire movie and the film only ratcheted that mood up with every image (or lack thereof).

It would not be wrong to call this an experimental horror film.

I can also completely understand why some people may hate this movie. It is intentionally slow and plenty of people are going to struggle with the format of the structure of the narrative. The audience score at Rotten Tomatoes is at 44% because it is not what anybody has ever seen before. It is not like any horror movie out there and the plenty of people are going to be divisive
because of that.

While narrative is usually something that I watch closely in a movie, there is no denying that this movie got to me in several organic ways. There were some scenes that caused me to have a cold chill run down my back and a few times when I gasped. The film absolutely unsettled me, and not too many films have been able to do that.

Skinamarink may not be for you. I can understand if you hate this movie, but I can not argue that it affected me physically as I watched it and I was uneasy and skittery as it progressed. It may have been a touch too long, but Skinamarink does not pull any punches and creates a movie that is different from anything else you have ever seen.

4 stars


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