Blu-Ray Rating: *****

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Read Jennie Kermode's film review of Skinamarink
"" | Photo: Courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

Filmmakers rightly complain about lazy critics who label work as 'not for everyone.' it seems that sometimes, though, it does bear repeating. I have never received so many angry letters about a review as I did for this film. "It's two hours of nothing!" complained one. Yet I am far from alone in considering it to be one of the most important horror works of this millennium. You either get it or you don't. If you do, this Blu-ray is something which you will simply have to have as part of your collection.

Although it has been screamed been screened in IMAX, Skinamarink is a film which really benefits from being seen in a smaller, more intimate setting - preferably in your own home, late at night, when you are alone, with all the lights turned out. See it once like that and it will stay with you, not just through the ensuing long sleepless night but sufficiently that when you watch it with the audio commentary track playing, despite the cheerful voices of director Kyle Edward Ball and cinematographer Jamie McRae, you will still be creeped out. Indeed, Ball himself remains disturbed by the ending, more than once asking "What did we do?"

Considering how spare the film is for much of its runtime, there's a surprising amount for the two to say, and frustratingly some interesting points are raised but not returned to. There are lessons in low budget filmmaking, especially valuable for those interested in creating a creepy atmosphere, and there's praise for the film's young cast members. Apologies are made for a couple of anachronistic objects, one of which keeps reappearing throughout, and thanks are given to those fans and critics who assumed that they were a deliberate comment on how the film plays with time. Skinamarink is a puzzle which invites attention to detail. The two commentators express their excitement about the fan art which has been generated as a result, and reflect on what viewers have said about it.

If you didn't get the film but are still willing to give it a try with the commentary, some of what it's doing will become clearer to you, though it's unlikely that it will have quite the same emotional impact as it does on others. If you loved it, learning about the process won't diminish its power. Even when you know exactly what's happening, that sense of otherness is palpable. Though generally not a superstitious person, Kyle still wonders if something influenced him when he was writing it. Go into the darkness like this and you will always be glancing nervously at shadows.

Reviewed on: 02 Jul 2023
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Skinamarink packshot
Two children wake up in the middle of the night to find that their father is missing and all the windows and doors in their home have vanished.
Amazon link

Product Code: B0C341KMPZ

Region: 0

Extras: Audio commentary

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