Special to the The Tejano Tribune
By Emma Carr & Ben Ranger
Here’s how the plot of “Skinamarink” is described: Two children wake up in the middle of the
night to find their father is missing and all the windows and doors in their home have vanished.
From that point you’re on your own as Canadian filmmaker Kyle Edward Ball pulls the audience from one scare to another, with increasing amounts of confusion and spooky delight.
We went into it knowing it was a slow burn and very experimental, and that is exactly what we
got. It left us pondering, even days after watching… what just happened? This is a movie that
you either get it or you don’t … and if you don’t, you’re going to think it’s boringly pointless.
This is Ball’s second project, ever, and it’s a bold move. Well received last summer at the 26th
Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, it immediately suffered having its digital file
pirated and uploaded across the Internet, but then realized that as a mixed blessing.
Positive word-of-mouth on YouTube, TikTok, Reddit and Twitter built anticipation of box office
recovering the purported $15,000 production costs. (Rumor has it, Ball shot the entire film in his childhood home…). And as of last week, $900,000 in ticket sales seems to have covered that.
The success two decades ago of “The Blair Witch Project” might have spurred Ball to try his
hand at experimental horror, and it would appear he has succeeded cinematically.
However, for the average movie goer, it might be a little much. Most, if not all, conventional movie-making structures are abandoned as audiences are challenged to follow absurd camera angles and out-offrame activities.
The kids are “seen” as not much more than running pairs of socks or off-screen whispers. But the sense of their abandonment permeates every scene and we can’t help but wonder if this is exactly how a kid might react without the vocabulary or life experience to understand what’s happening.
Being immersed is key to enjoying Skinamarink, so either watch it in a good theater or absorb it at home where you can better control the environment. It felt worth the ticket price, and much like viewing the movie itself, a slow build to truly appreciating it. We will need a rewatch for sure.
We give it 4 stars out of 5.