The 2022 horror film “Skinamarink,” directed by Kyle Edward Ball, had my bones quaking in a way I had not experienced since my first chilling encounter with “The Blair Witch Project.” For anyone looking for a fast-paced slasher film or supernatural poltergeists, “Skinamarink” may not be your cup of tea. Much like arthouse movies, the film is a slow, methodical exploration of childhood terror and abandonment, woven with haunting found-footage shots and a daunting atmosphere that lingers long after the credits roll.
The movie centers around two children, Kaylee and Kevin, who are inexplicably left in their home all alone. They search desperately for their parents but to no avail. Eventually, to their horror, they discover that all the doors and windows of their home have mysteriously and eerily disappeared.
Ball dives deep into the dark and unsettling reality of child abandonment and abuse, masterfully capturing the suffocating helplessness that can engulf vulnerable youths. Through unnerving found-footage scenes, viewers are transported to pitch-black hallways and rooms, where every corner hides a nightmare and the fear of the unknown resurfaces.
The cinematography of the film is a standout feature. The use of a modern digital camera helps establish the film’s genre as analog horror. The addition of grain to the footage and various discoloring filters create an authentic and disconcerting atmosphere.
These additions enforce the idea that any frame could potentially be the last shot a person took before their death, leaving the audience fearful of what the next shot of a darkened room could reveal.
What makes “Skinamarink” a true masterpiece is Ball’s exceptional understanding of simplicity.
Beginning his career by recreating someone’s nightmares on YouTube, Ball realized abstract imagery, sparse silence and evocative soundscape were sufficient to tell an entire story.
In “Skinamarink,” Ball expertly uses these elements to immerse the audience in the eerie nostalgia of childhood fears. The childish commentary from Kaylee and Kevin and the foreboding hallways return viewers to their childhood and rekindle their fear of leaving the bedroom at night.
“Skinamarink” is a testament to the power and force of slow-burn horror. It does not rely on jumpscares or gory visuals to spook the audience. Instead, it leverages the primal fears of childhood, such as the fear of abandonment and the unknown, to create an atmosphere of dread that envelops the viewer from beginning to end.
Anyone with deep-rooted fears from their childhood should watch this film, especially college students who walk a thin tightrope between adulthood and childhood.
“Skinamarink” offers a unique opportunity to explore deep-seated fears that often stem from childhood experiences. This movie reflects the isolation and apprehension that can accompany newfound independence, mirroring the anxiety one feels when stepping out into the world on their own. The film’s cinematography and style also illustrate the boundaries between youthful innocence and the upsetting realities of adulthood. The movie’s grainy found-footage style and haunting soundscapes effectively mirror the distressing shift from the safety of home to the unknown world.
“Skinamarink” is not just a horror film: it is a journey through the maze of childhood fears and their enduring impact on our lives. The movie challenges the viewers to confront their deep-rooted fears and anxieties and engage in introspection in a controlled environment. It is a must-watch for those looking to explore the complexities of their inner mind as they attempt to navigate the road to adulthood.
Dee Cohen is a sophomore majoring in English.