Skinamarink (2022)
January 13, 2023 11:27 AM - Subscribe

Two children wake up in the middle of the night to find their father is missing, and all the windows and doors in their home have vanished.
posted by guiseroom (18 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I am going to go see this tonight! I shall report back with my findings b ut I am looking forward to it.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:34 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

OK I saw it. On one hand. I want to warn people because the movie isn't going to be a crowd pleaser, on the other, however, going in mainly blind (as I did) is really the best way to go. But if you want to know if it's scary-I saw it with a person from my regular horror movie group and at one point, he jumped in his seat, throwing his hat into the air which then landed in my lap. Yeah, it's scary.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:24 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

I just did not get this. I think the concept is scary, but the execution, to put it charitably, was not. It’s sort of like if Andy Warhol tried to remake Last Year at Marienbad as an experimental horror movie, and if you think that sounds like a compliment let me assure you that it’s not meant to be.
posted by holborne at 7:47 PM on January 14 [6 favorites]

While that's a creative insult, I do not see it as an accurate one. However, it's clearly a polarizing movie in terms of how audiences respond to it.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:01 PM on January 14

I think it’s perfectly accurate, but ok.
posted by holborne at 8:16 PM on January 14

On holborne’s side of the spectrum here. What an unbearable experience. Maybe I’m just not quite the film school nerd for this one.
posted by thejoshu at 10:07 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]

holborne: I was thinking of Last Year at Marienbad, too. Both because it's a sort of "reverse haunted house" movie (it could be read as a ghost story from the perspective of the ghosts) and because 99% of the people who go see it in a theater will have probably never seen anything remotely like it. I can see it blowing minds like Marienbad did back during its original theatrical run. Likewise, I can see it confounding and/or pissing off people in the same way.
posted by tomorrowromance at 10:00 AM on January 15

I share the view of this article, by and large, but I enjoyed it as a kind of tone poem. Or like a remake of The Stone Tape with all the plot and characters and exposition edited out and only the spectral bits left in. It's 150% aesthetics and not much else, but that's a certain kind of catnip for a hauntology type like myself. I would go out of my way to watch grainy 8mm footage of ominously-lit rooms anyway.
posted by mykescipark at 2:12 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]

I fall on the "not buying this" end of the spectrum, but I'll admit to admiring its atmosphere, and it has stuck with me in a way that a great deal of more-disposable horror movies have not. I feel like if I hadn't suffered through a lot of experimental film shows with my friends who were in art school I would have more patience for this, and I do appreciate artists taking risks in the genre, but man, this just did not land for me at all. I've already seen Jeanne Dielman, and I did not think that what it was lacking was bad lighting and a spooky ghost voice.

Maybe I was just too tuned out to follow it, but I got more of a narrative from the synopsis than the actual movie itself. Were the kids actually trying to find the door to the outside and couldn't find it? I didn't catch that. I barely had any sense of what the kids were doing or who they were as characters. Maybe the movie works better for people who are able to project themselves onto the kids, but I just couldn't find much to grab hold of there.

Descriptions and reviews of this movie also say that their parents are gone, which isn't strictly true although it seems like the parents who show up in a few scenes are ghosts or something. I found the jump cuts from windows and doors to blank walls to be more on the "movie magic!" cheesy side than the frightening side, though I did get a sense of claustrophobia by the end; likewise the jump scare with the face at the end seemed more funny than terrifying. But ultimately I found the scene from Gummo where the kid is eating spaghetti in the bath to be far more horrifying than this movie.
posted by whir at 9:19 PM on January 17

I saw this alone in a theater, as I wanted to give the film the best possible chance of working for me. It did, but I wouldn't recommend this for most folks. And I don't think it has a great chance of working at home, unless you watch it late at night in the dark, committing to never pausing or multitasking.

For me, this felt more like a child's nightmare than anything I have ever seen. That meant it was transfixing and unnerving, but it also meant it was fragmented and inscrutable. It meant it was lacking in critical information to help a viewer understand exactly what the hell it is that they are watching. I tend to see that as a feature, not a bug, as I cannot imagine it having unnerved me or stuck with me like it did if it was all crystal clear at the end.

The prevailing theories to explain the film seem to be: they're dead and they don't know they're ghosts; Kevin is in a coma and this is all his coma dream; or a demon has taken them. I don't know that it matters that much which of those you go with, but given the dark presence that eventually ends the kids, I don't favor the first two, even though there are pieces that would make sense for either. But I can't square the film's interest in Kaylee if it's all in Kevin's head. And I don't know why, if they're dead, they would get tormented by something demonic.

Even within those, there is room to interpret things in vastly different ways. Maybe the parents abused them. Maybe they killed them.

I tend to think the kids have been taken/targeted somehow by something evil. I think even all of the fucked up stuff that the parents seem to maybe do is the demon thing tormenting them. What's more upsetting than your parents seeming incomprehensible and probably dangerous?

But I'm less interested in getting into the weeds on plot points for a movie that goes out of its way to be oblique anyway. I'm more interested in the effect and what the filmmaker may have been trying to evoke.

I think what it feels like is a movie that evokes the lost, confused, trapped feeling of being a very young child in a home that is sick with abuse. And that's pretty horrific. I don't even want to delve too far into that, for reasons both personal and practical, but that is how I take the film. It's entirely possible that is idiosyncratic on my part, and is just one of a hundred possible reads on something that is willfully enigmatic. But that's what i took from it.

I can 110% understand anyone who didn't vibe with this. It's weird, specific, and droning and probably only a limited subset of viewers even could like it. And even among that subset of folks, it probably can't work unless you see it in the right frame of mind, in the right situation.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:25 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]

This is a movie I can’t say I enjoyed, totally followed, or think is necessarily “good,” but I did feel some feelings and think it absolutely did what it set out to do, so?!? It very much felt like a student art film, though better at maintaining a vibe of discomfort than most of those that I've seen! It's set in the 90s, but definitely feels out of time with the old-timey cartoons (that honestly do a lot of the heavy lifting, vibes-wise, and kept reminding me of how scared I was of so many of The King of Cartoons' offerings on Pee-Wee) and more 70/80s-style credits kicking everything off. It didn't feel like my recurring childhood nightmares, but I do think it captured "kid's nightmare" really well by really leaning into that feeling of helplessness and not knowing why anything is happening.

DOT, I read this thread right after watching, and your comment made me reflect on some of the things I initially felt were silly (the Dr. Who noises accompanying the disappearance of the windows, doors, and toilet, especially) and think more about the way kid brains try to make sense of potentially horrific things that are happening. So thank you for that!
posted by quatsch at 7:25 AM on February 3

I think this might have been a very scary ten-minute short, but at nearly two hours it's a grueling test of patience. The incredibly long stretches in which absolutely nothing happens prime you to be excited and scared when something does, because you want to actually feel anything other than boredom, so I'm not sure the effective moments are really effective, or if I just kind of tricked myself into being into them so I wouldn't feel like I was completely wasting my time. To be fair, I feel like the film does kick into...well, not high gear, exactly, but its highest gear with the 911 call, and the last "act" is sort of compelling, though it meanders.

What happens in this movie? It could be a metaphor for abuse; Kevin's blow to the head could imply that the parents are physically abusive. Or Kevin's blow to the head could mean that this is his hallucination -- that he's in a coma, as suggested above, or simply that he's trying to sleep while suffering from a slight concussion (which could mean he's slipping into a coma). The face addressing us directly at the end implies otherwise, though; I think the kids have been killed, and we're meant to be next. On the one hand, that feels very much like a dream that would scare the shit out of you if you were a kid, and on the other, it's kind of a child's nightmare is to an adult. I may be too grown up for something like this, which I have to admit is a little disappointing to relate.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:28 PM on February 10

On reflection, I think maybe it is Kevin's dream; the face asking "What's your name?" over and over could be speaking with the voice of the 911 operator after Kevin dropped the phone.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:38 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]

Buuuuuut it could also simply be that the creature tortured the kids and then killed them. Kaylee's disappearing mouth made me think of Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream," in which a few random humans are trapped inside the mind of a mad computer that has destroyed the world and is spending eternity torturing them out of boundless spite. The "572 days" is a rather stark and specific figure in this otherwise very vague film, and there doesn't seem much question it means the events of the film have gone on nearly two years. So who knows? The film is so open-ended that you could write a dozen interpretations that are all about equally plausible.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:07 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]

I just finished sitting down to watch this, home and alone, at night, knowing how polarizing it was--and I get it. I think I liked it. I didn't hate it, but I'm still trying to describe to myself how I felt about it. It was very uncomfortable, and about twenty minutes too long, but not... in a bad way? In the sense that it was a bit of an endurance battle, on purpose, and very effective at what it set out to do.

I can't remember the last time I saw a movie in which the whole of it seemed to both run together and feel miles apart from the beginning, like I binge-watched a series and came up for air from the physical drag of it on me. The constant pressure of tension felt like I meditated within a nightmare. So many times I adverted my eyes to the side of the screen to both give myself a forced break and also to avoid directly seeing what was (or could have been) on screen. It was an experience, for sure.

Also thank you to my upstairs neighbors, who suddenly broke out in uproarious, muffled laughter during that final, long shot.
posted by lesser weasel at 5:53 AM on March 25

I wanted to like this, I was primed to like this, and it just fell short for me. It was also the longest 1 hour 40 minute movie I have ever seen.
posted by Kitteh at 4:32 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]

The bon mot in our house when the number displayed on the screen was "well, that sure felt like 572 days."

I don't know. I'm glad somebody is out there swinging for the fences and I'm glad that somebody did this as opposed to, say, another Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot.

On the plus side, at points it got closer to House of Leaves than I ever expected a movie to get. I appreciate the all-in aesthetic.

On the minus, I kept thinking of the Peanuts cartoon where Linus draws stick figures with their hands behind their backs and Charlie Brown opines about how it's a profound decision, and Linus tells him it's because he can't draw hands. I can't parse what in here is intelligent decision-making and what's just a lazy lean into "dark things are spooky," but the more it went on and on and on the more it felt like the filmmaker had one good idea that would have made a dynamite 30-minute short, but just kept padding and padding and padding.

The ultimate "it's a magic demon who can do anything" bit just sealed the deal for me. It resolves the question I had about how much food, and how many buckets, these kids have, but if nothing is real and anything can happen, that's when I nope out of caring myself. In any more conventionally made film, having a plot that makes no sense and then having somebody shrug "eh, a wizard did it" in the last reel would get a brick thrown at you. Obfuscating that with a lot of digitally-grained-up film stock and [OMINOUS DRONE] doesn't really change the fact that the emperor might not be wearing that much.

All that said -- I'm glad I watched it! It was an experience. I think it was a great 30-minute movie, and/or a bunch of horror tropes that would work really well in a better movie if dialled down to 7 or 8.
posted by Shepherd at 4:44 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]

I finally saw this and to me it just felt horribly self-indulgent and overlong. The director likes long takes and static shots, and that's fine (or can be) but for them to work you have to trust that there will be a payoff, and to trust in that you have have to trust that the filmmakers know what they're doing. Unfortunately, I did not. To me the film felt like the work of a lackluster film student who had decided on film school thinking "how hard can it be?" This feeling was only reinforced by the scene of the blood disappearing and reappearing repeatedly--once or even twice could be effective, but when it just kept happening I became convinced that they had recently discovered After Effects and were giggling endlessly about how clever they were, thinking we'd sure be just as enthralled with it.

Enthralled I was not. When it finally said "The End" I said "Thank God."
posted by johnofjack at 7:28 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]

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