Experimental scary films have always fascinated me. Movies where the scary aspects are hidden or around corners and the jump scares come out of nowhere. Skinamarink is that type of horror film and is one of the most creative and intense films I have experienced in a long time. The camera is shaky, the cinematography is saturated, and the terror is blended with the sound effects throughout its hour and a half plus running time. Skinamarink required me to think and anticipate unexpected moments of terror. It takes the cake in its brilliant writing, directing, and settings created from the mind of director Kyle Edward Ball.
The estimated budget of Skinamarink falls at $15,000 which is relatively low. However, for its low budget, it is surreal. Ball really put his mind into making this project creative, fascinating, and something different. He worked to make a memorable film where his audience leaves with many questions in the back of their minds. I am still pondering some questions after experiencing Skinamarink. Despite some confusion throughout the film, I was astonished by the film overall.
Skinamarink is a film that takes place entirely in a house. The credits of the film roll before the movie begins and then it jumps right into its setting. Do not expect to sit after the credits. The film consists of a family in a home. There is the mom and dad (played by Jaime Hill and Ross Paul), and their children Kevin and Kaylee (played by Lucas Paul and Dali Rose Tetreault). Do not expect to see much of them but expect to hear their voices. The film’s focus is that Kevin and Kaylee wake up and realize that their parents are missing, their windows are gone, their doors are gone, and because of their ages they do not understand what is going on.
The film has that feeling of a glitchy camera which adds to the film’s suspense. There is no scoring or terrifying music, just the consistent shots of the low-budget camera following the quiet suspense. This means that there is some supernatural terror going on in the home. The supernatural terror paces itself in long fragments and focuses in on the many corners of the home. There are sound effects in the background, including a TV, the voices of the children, and whatever noise may be occurring in the house. Given all this, Skinamarink may make some feel scared. It reminded me what it felt like to be scared at a young age, especially when you don’t yet understand how the world works.
The film’s saturated cinematography is like The Blair Witch Project (1999) in that it effectively utilizes technicalities for added suspense. Skinamarink has the camera be more still and does not have its audience feel like they have motion sickness like The Blair Witch Project did. Skinamarink is a horror film with a limited budget made with the purpose of scaring the audience and finding questions about the source of the evil that lurks through the film. Where did Kevin and Kaylie’s parents go? Why did their windows and doors disappear? Why is the film being presented through a video camera? The many questions to Skinamarink’s creative use of mind-boggling technicalities are where its realism is truly demonstrated.
Skinamarink is intriguing and inviting. The film may start in a boring way given the credits rolling before the film starts instead of at the end of the film. After that, however, it grasps your attention as horrors evolve when the many terrors come out of nowhere. Skinamarink is Paranormal Activity on acid and in my opinion is better than the Paranormal Activity franchise. This one puts its horror to the test, and it is a revelation.
Is there light in Skinamarink? Is there a way to prevent the horror that is happening silently? Will Kevin and Kaylie be safe? Skinamarink is imaginative in its display of ghost knowledge as it reveals more unknown fragments of unexplained spirits. Three and a half stars for Skinamarink.