Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night thinking, “something feels wrong?” Skinamarink is a horror film that captures the very essence of our acute apprehensions awaiting us in the dead of night.
Skinamarink is the debut film from Canadian writer and director Kyle Edward Ball, and the predecessor to Ball’s 2020 short film, Heck. It is shot in a VHS style format that transports the viewer back to 1995. A dimly lit television screen provides the main source of light, along with discordant cartoon music playing in the background. It tells the story of two siblings, Kevin (Lucas Paul) and Kaylee (Dali Rose Tetreault), who find themselves trapped in an empty house with no doors or windows, while something sinister surrounds them. Some viewers may argue the plot is thin, but I believe Ball created a masterpiece in visual and audible storytelling.
Immerse yourself in Skinamarink
What sets this film apart from others in the horror genre is its unique and immersive experience. The film reduces us all back to children, preying on our fear of the unknown and feeding on our isolation. Never do we see the two main characters center framed, which leaves us deprived of any real connection. The audience never sees the entity, yet its presence is truly menacing. Every Dutch angle is eloquently placed, further reminding us we are playing by rules established by the entity.
Rather than relying on jump scares or gore, the film creates a sense of dread and unease through subtle panicked whispers and stretches of silence. There’s a palpable sense of danger lurking around every corner.
A rare theatrical release
Skinamarink is a must-see film for for any horror fan. It creates a sense of unease that will stay with the viewer long after the credits roll. It’s an experimental low budget film that forces the viewer to use their imagination for 100 stressful minutes. While it may not be for everyone, it is a rightfully unique experience.
It’s rare when a movie like this receives a theatrical release. Do yourself a favor and see Skinamarink in a dark theater for optimal viewing!