Last Sunday, my friend and I went to the cinema to watch Skinamarink. Lately, I’ve really enjoyed going to movies without any knowledge or expectation of them. There were two things I knew about this movie going into it: it’s an indie horror, and people can’t stop talking about it.
And wow. I’m glad I went into this with zero expectations because I would have never in a million years expected what I saw.
Skinamarink takes an experimental approach. For all but one shot, we barely see the characters’ faces. Instead, the viewer is subjected to long shots of the interior of a house where things keep disappearing. We mostly follow a pair of siblings as they navigate the horrors unfolding in their home.
The long shots without any action are definitely going to test most audiences. In an era where things are so fast-paced, it’s definitely an adjustment to just sit and breathe with the image.
At times the movie’s stillness becomes almost unbearable, but it’s clearly intentional. The sense of dread that director Kyle Edward Ball creates feels massive. There are a couple of jump scares that gave me genuine chills, but it’s the lack of things happening that can feel the eeriest.
This is probably the only film where I saw people walk out. One man left pretty early. One woman got up in a huff and angrily pushed through her row to exit with about 45 minutes to go. It definitely was making people react.
When the house lights went up, a few vocal audience members had a lot to say about why the movie was a waste of time. I’m not even sure how my friend felt about it. But I felt like I had experienced something that I’d never forget. Did I like it? Well…not sure if I was meant to enjoy it.
Sure. I had no idea what was going on most of the time. I couldn’t explain most of what was happening. All of that, though, added to the nightmarish feel. It was exactly like when you are having a bad dream that you can’t wake up from (in a good way mind, though I’m sure some people will take it both ways!).
When I saw the notice that the PCC had extended its showings, my gut immediately told me I needed to see it again. Proof that it clearly left its mark.
Going out and supporting unusual horror projects is so important. Not everything will be our cup of tea, but horror needs to exist in all its forms and push us beyond our limits. No other genre can do the same thing.