(IFC Films/Shudder)

Skinamarink is the type of movie that slowly but surely digs its way through your skin and makes its home underneath. 

It is a modern experimental ode to creepypastas, slow cinema and analog horror. It’s slow, very slow. But over its one hour and 40 minute run time, it works its way from unnerving to utterly distressing. 

Skinamarink follows two boys who wake up at night only to find that their father is missing. 

It is one of the few films I’ve seen that has genuinely left me feeling horrified and shaking. It’s not for everyone. It feels like the sort of cursed VHS tape a character would find in The Ring. Its dialogue is minimal and the very few phrases that are spoken were often cryptic. 

Its plot is strange and deliberately very vague, however, if you let yourself become immersed in it, try to look beyond the strange camera angles and layers of old camera grain and fuzz, it becomes one of the most intense and fascinating horror films I’ve seen in the last few years.

Almost all of the camera angles distort their subject and oftentimes their subjects are basic household episodes.  

Through editing and sound, the horror becomes the space in the house.

This space-oriented horror blends together the borderline cosmic horror inspired surrealness of House of Leaves with the uncanniness of liminal spaces and the pure, unfiltered childhood fear of the dark. That which should be familiar is not. All is covered in a layer of darkness. Some of the only light comes from a television, playing an endless stream of old cartoons, occasionally skipping for a moment, repeating sections for what seems like an eternity. 

The plot is minimal, but there is a horrifying dread that overtakes you when the implications of the storyline slowly become all too uncomfortably clear. It is absolutely something you need to watch in the dark, completely drawn into the experience. 

The placement of the cameras feels creepily voyeuristic. You’re uncomfortably peering into something which should not be seen. 

Each shot is covered in layers of grain. Many of them appear to be from different tape, video recorders and film. However, this strange grain appears even when we see things from someone’s perspective. This mixing of perspectives leads to an uncanny interpretation of reality. 

Skinamarink will not be for everyone. If someone says that it’s boring or too long or too slow, that is completely understandable. If you are someone willing to get lost in the strange, almost transcendental, hypnotic nature of the film’s horror, Skinamarink may be the perfect sleeper hit for you.