- Gareth Crook
Skinamarink (2022) - 4/10
This is low budget, mildly inventive stuff. Treated with a VHS look, with blown out light, flattened colour and some retro grain. It’s out to create an atmosphere. Two young kids wake up in the middle of the night. An old film playing on a TV somewhere flicks off and we’re left in near silence. Shots cut to various close up abstracts of ceilings and floors and floors that look like ceilings. The child’s point of view, literally turning upside down. They call for their dad, in creepy muffled echoey voices. There’s no reply. The pace is labourious. You need a lot of patience. The kids watch cartoons. We see their feet and legs wander around. They draw. They pass the time. The point (and the criticism) to lull you into a twilight sense of unease. There’s very little movement. Either from the camera or within the frame. The narrative driven solely by whispered questions from the faceless children to each other, then to something else. It’s weird from the outset, but things get weirder as the collective waking nightmare progresses. Things in places they shouldn’t be. Things missing where they should be. The house is wrong. There’s little point in saying much more, through fear of spoiling the effect. The truth is this is a very sparse film and the mood it creates and effect it conjures is really all it has. It’s experimental arthouse horror and thus won’t be for everyone. I’m not even sure it’s for me. It would certainly benefit from a bit of trimming, but the idea is good, the execution well delivered, but it’s a struggle. The sound design is good. There’s a few really cool looking shots. It’s got style. I’ll give it that. Fair enough it’s been made for peanuts, but a little more substance would go a long way.