Absolutely terrifying, nightmarish experimental horror pic.
A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Skinamarink is an experimental horror movie with very little plot about two young siblings who are trapped alone in a scary house from which the doors and windows have vanished. It's the feature writing/directing debut of YouTuber Kyle Edward Ball ("Bitesized Nightmares"). It's definitely not for everyone, but some viewers will find it absolutely terrifying and unforgettable. Characters are almost never fully visible onscreen, but children are unquestionably in peril. There are blood spatters in two scenes, and viewers hear dialogue about a child putting a knife in his eye and about a child falling down the stairs. Children are also heard screaming and crying. There's a general feeling of throttling terror throughout, plus jump-scares, scary noises, and unsettling images such as a face with no mouth or eyes. There's no sex, substance use, or swearing.
Slow, Moody, Frightening
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What's the Story?
In SKINAMARINK, young siblings Kevin (Lucas Paul) and Kaylee (Dali Rose Tetreault) wake up in a dark house to find their parents gone and the doors and windows vanished. They decide to go downstairs, where they can watch cartoons. Menacing sounds come from around the house, and toys and other objects start to disappear. Other objects appear on the ceiling. Then something terrible happens to Kaylee, leaving Kevin all on his own with some unnamed, sinister force that apparently has the power to do anything.
Is It Any Good?
A truly unique and absolutely terrifying horror movie, this experimental nightmare doesn't follow standard story structures and isn't for everyone, but those who brave it won't soon forget it. The feature writing/directing debut of YouTuber Kyle Edward Ball ("Bitesized Nightmares"), Skinamarink is an truly experimental movie, without much discernible plot, characters who almost never appear on camera, and dialogue that's often unintelligible. (Subtitles sometimes, but not always, pop up to help.) The film seems most interested in creating an unsettling feeling of terror like being trapped in a nightmare, and at that it fully succeeds. Skinamarink resembles an old movie, shot on film, with scratches and grain, while the audio sounds worn-out, bass-heavy, full of hiss, and distorted. Old cartoons play on a TV set, and their cheery chirps warp into horrible noise. Sometimes things are too dark to see clearly, but blurry or indistinct things within the frame may creep you out. Other times the mere act of cutting from one shot to another creates a jolt. At 100 minutes, the movie may be too long to fully sustain its spell, but it's still an incredible work.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Skinamarink's violence. How did it make you feel? Was it exciting? Shocking? What did the movie show or not show to achieve this effect? Why is that important?
Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of horror movies? Why do people sometimes like to be scared?
What is an "experimental film"? What purpose do films without typical elements like plot and characters serve?
What do nightmares and movies have in common? What sets them apart?
How does the movie use sound? How is sound sometimes more effective than image?
- In theaters: January 13, 2023
- On DVD or streaming: February 10, 2023
- Cast: Lucas Paul, Dali Rose Tetreault, Ross Paul
- Director: Kyle Edward Ball
- Studios: IFC Midnight, Shudder
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 21, 2023
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