From the film’s IMDB.com page citation:
“Two children wake up in the middle of the night to find their father is missing, and all the windows an doors in their home have vanished.”
Mark my words: there are a unique subgenre of motion pictures that, fundamentally, are made almost entirely with the film festival circuit in mind.
I know, I know, I know. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “But how can a film like that ever hope to recover its budget?”
Well, that’s a question somewhat difficult to answer, but – functionally – it’s not, and they’re not.
Essentially, this type of flick is largely made to draw attention typically to the storyteller. His or her hopes is that they’ll become a bit of a sensation – a ‘hot property,’ as it were – and this positive buzz will lead to increased interest in his or her other projects. What scripts do they have in a drawer that might catch the eye? Is there a project germinating in their fertile minds that could be looking for financial participation? Would you – oh, all-new auteur – care to take a look at something our studio is percolating and might you be interested in hopping aboard as its director?
How do I know this?
Well, I’ve seen many lesser works and have used my own brain cells to come to the conclusion that the above is the only possible scenario.
So … if I’m wrong, sue me.
That said, Skinamarink feels like such an attempt to garner some attention on the part of writer/director Kyle Edward Ball. It’s a cheaply and (likely) quickly produced kinda/sorta ghost story that has a loose plot about children in search of their parent(s) who may or may not have vanished to only God knows where. There’s no real set of facts other than those – I’d dare anyone to create anything further from the collection of grainy shots, fractured dialogue, and sound effects all lumped together (much in the same way folks throw spaghetti at a wall just to see what sticks) – and clocking in at an astounding 100 minutes is a bit of a creative misfire. Had it rolled in around 60 minutes (or even vastly less), it may’ve had an opportunity to garner a bit more positive attention from the masses-at-large. But as is?
This is a festival flick. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Still, Skinamarink has some serviceable ideas in there. A few of the fleeting sequences aptly produce some authentic creepiness – no doubt as it was designed and captured – and those moments might even give one hope that before all is said and done this effort might ultimately be going somewhere other than it does rather predictably. Viewers watching closely might pick up a few odds and assortments here and there – some are obvious, some much less so – but, alas, these things don’t quite add up to anything singularly significant, leaving the entire journey without a big enough destination to make the sojourn worth it … so far as this reviewer is concerned.
Skinamarink (2022) was produced by ERO Picture Company, IFC Midnight, and Shudder. Distribution (for this particular release) is being coordinated (as best as I can tell) via the good people at Shudder. As for the technical specifications? Erm … this is a bit difficult to discuss. I’m no trained video expert, but the sights and sounds contained herein are exceedingly difficult to watch for the total running time. It’s all dark, grainy, and occasionally out-of-focus. Much of it is shot from the most bizarre camera angles possible, and – yes – at times I’ve little to no idea of what I was supposed to ‘take away’ from a particular sequence. Suffice it to say? It’s definitely it’s own ‘cup of tea.’
Recommended only for those who (A) have at least 100 minutes of free time on their hand, (B) have the patience of a saint, and (C) truly want to experience something a bit oddball in pursuit of a minor scare.
Now, don’t get me wrong: it wasn’t as if I think Skinamarink is a total waste because that would be far from the truth. My issues with it is that it seemed like writer/director Ball may not have been able to discern a good idea from a bad one, so literally everything possible was thrown into the mix. The end result? Well, it’s a grainy pursuit of a central story, one involving children, missing parents, and the possibility of a bizarre dimension either infiltrating our own or vice versa. The fact that I’m leaving this behind with far more questions than answers just doesn’t bode well for me and the kind of scares I appreciate. This one is really only for those who want something entirely different. And I do mean different.
In the Interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Shudder provided me with a complimentary streaming link to Skinamarink (2022) by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.