Ever since Blair Witch, Paranormal Activity, horror films with micro-budgets started to be taken more seriously. The big studios in hunt for the next thing had their eyes open very wide. 2022, Kyle Edward Ball’s no budget experimental horror Skinamarink made big waves on the film festival circuit.
Shudder obliged by picking u the rights and now that film is now available at the channel.
It comes with a big reputation, even some calling it the ‘scariest horror’ film ever made and terrorised certain social media platforms with that message.
sadly thanks to the hyperbole what we get is 1hour 40 minutes not of terror, one of boredom.
In Skinamarink, it’s 1995 we have two children kevin (Lucas Paul) and Kaylee (Dali Rose Tetreault). Both wake up in the middle of the night to find their parents are missing. All the windows and doors in their home have vanished.
To cope with the strange situation, the two bring pillows and blankets to the living room and they have their blankets for comfort and play cartoons and toys to distract themselves to distract themselves from the frightening and inexplicable situation. All the while in the hopes that eventually some grown-ups will come to rescue them. However, after a while it becomes clear that something is watching over them.
I don’t like to rip into first time filmmakers, but this is one time horror community may have gotten things wrong. It’s a divisive film which many will get onboard and are genuinely creeped out.
Kudo’s to Edward Ball who has made a film for around $15,000 Canadian dollars and has made a return of around $2-3 million dollars thanks to the worldwide box office.
This highlights the power of word by mouth, social media and what it can do for something small can explode into something big. Apparently the film was a bit of a sensation on TikTok last year.
The title of the film comes from the nursery song Skidamarink which was made popular by Sharon, Bram and Lois on Canadian television.
Starting with positives. What Skinamarink does so well is evoke the childhood fear of the dark. The monsters that our anxieties conceived in our minds. What lurks in that darkness traumatised us as children might still be here.
Lo-fi imagery even the ambience of the nightmare, the audio terrors. We hear voices leaving you wondering is it the kids or something else playing with your mind. The background noise crackles, and any dialogue will be subtitled
The camera is the viewers eyes and stares directly into the void. It wants you to experience the trauma, the fear, it also asks for your patience. It assumes you imagination will still be the same when you were a child.
We may get something that looks eerie and will attempt to disorientate you. All it does is get you frustrated, maybe even looking at your watch. Things become more an endurance test of your patience. At this stage if the dread and trepidation isn’t kicking in, boredom will be.
The tactics used to scare us start to get repetitive. Any early scares will have now disappeared
What ever presence is tormenting the children we never truly learn who or what lurks in the vast emptiness. You’ll be now questioning the whole point of Skinamarink.
The comparisons with Blair Witch Project or David Lynch’s Eraserhead are quite laughable.
Skinamarink is a film that should have been a short film rather than stretched to a full feature. It lacked enough ideas to be a full-length. It’s abstract, plays a bit like watching the world through a baby monitor or security camera. It wanted to be that ‘caught’ evidence of paranormal evidence.
what we get instead is something that keeps to experimental roots. Scares the viewer to grab their television remote control to watch something more conventional rather than polarising.
Horror | Canada, 2022 | 15 | 2nd February 2023 | Shudder | Dir.Kyle Edward Ball | Lucas Paul, Dali Rose Tetreault, Ross Paul
This review was originally posted at The Peoples Movies on 7th February 2023 | original link