Let’s stare at the damn wall.
Skinamarink had a limited release in 2022 but was only widely available this January, so I am including it in the 2023 films.
To say this is a divisive film is a drastic understatement. You will see folks saying this is the scariest film they have ever seen, or the most pretentious and boring pile of crap ever made. I’m more with the latter and simply don’t see how or why this film connected with people.
Experimental films can be interesting. Films without a traditional plot can also be interesting. This film fails in both accords for me. We have a surrealist nightmare without the surrealism. The efforts to defamiliarize the audience and create a mood come through odd camera angles and still shots of darkness.
We follow two children who awake to find their father gone and the exits to their home absent. Trapped in the darkness, it seems there is some sort of entity causing things to get weird. On paper, this sounds like it could be an interesting enough premise. However, the poor quality of the film and lighting makes it largely unwatchable. The grainy film has (I think) an additional filter to make it look worse. The screen tearing is patterned, so I am guessing this is an intentional addition during the editing process, and it wrecked the setting.
The entire time we watched the movie I could not help but think of Alice in Wonderland or other nonsense literature. I think our filmmaker threw abstracted images and sounds at the audience to simply see what sticks. We as people will inherently seek meaning, and thought experiments where we as an audience are asked to interpret things for ourselves can be rewarding. However, this felt too manufactured in its delivery for me to ever engage with it. I found the film to be manipulative, but lacked the coherence or the deft hand to do so successfully.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that at least 70% of the running time is staring at a wall or a floor from an odd angle. We have a television flashing brightly throughout most of the scenes, which gives the film a strobe light effect. (How this film didn’t have an epilepsy warning is beyond me). I found myself suffering from a headache and boredom quickly. Things did not get better.
The film also commits, in my opinion, one of the more obnoxious flaws in horror. Loud is not scary. Loud might be startling–but it is not scary. The cranked up jumpscares are so loud that I worried I would bother my neighbors (do note we are not renters…). Already with a headache, these obnoxious moments ruined an already subpar film for me.
This is easily one of the most inept films I have ever seen. It may be one of the worst creations to ever be hailed as creative or experimental. I think any success is more a comment on our willingness to seek meaning even in empty rooms. I hated this movie and even a day later not a single moment stood out to me as creative or interesting. A terrible film that wastes a potentially interesting premise with pretension and boredom. This may have worked as a 20-minute short film. As a 100-minute feature length I would not wish this experience on anyone.
I hated this movie so much that I cannot even muster the willpower to make fun of it. A terrible movie that is an absolute waste of time. We’ve watched a lot of garbage on this blog but this one might take the cake.
Avoid at all costs.