Skinamarink Review


As maddeningly frustrating as it is genuinely creepy and unsettling, I feel pretty comfortable in saying you have seen little–if anything–like Skinamrink before. 

Skinamarink left me DYING to talk to someone, anyone, about it in its wake. I rushed upstairs to my wife to tell her what I just saw. I had to unprocess the film from my brain. But even for as much as I want to talk about it, I have come here to write words about it, and… what do I say about this film?

It feels natural to want to start this off by saying that “Skinamarink is the story of…”, but I’m not sure that is accurate. I’m not entirely sure there is a story here to speak of. It’s… it’s hard to get into. So perhaps it’s more accurate to start off as “What Skinamarink is…”.

And what Skinamarin is is a film shot entirely at weird angles and of household objects. As a viewer, you barely ever see any of the characters, and even when you do, it’s just weird fractional glimpses of them; from their forehead-up, for instance. Or just their legs. You never see… people doing things. You see a lot of the corners of rooms. Plenty of the end of staircases. A LOT of Legos. Several shots of an old-timey cartoon. Skinamarink doesn’t have action; it just has settings and sounds.

There are characters, though! Very young children named Kaylee (maybe 5-6?) and Kevin (maybe 3-4?) wake up one night to find that their dad is gone. They try to call for help, but the phone doesn’t seem to work. So they go downstairs to attempt to resume their sleep, but end up watching taped cartoons and playing with their toys instead.

Let’s just get right into the Ups and Downs here, because… well, there are reasons. To go any further would… gosh, this movie is hard to discuss.

A last point before the next segment: I watched this as I watch most things: with headphones. And I can’t imagine having seen this without them unless I was in a theater with an entire quiet audience. If watching at home, either go for headphones, or crank up the surround sound. You’re gonna need it.


-I’m starting off with the Downs, which is very unusual, but I feel like I kind of have to since the Ups more or less reference them a bit.

There are movies where “nothing happens”, and there are movies where “Nothing Happens”, and then there is Skinamarink, a movie that legitimately had me staring at NOTHING at various points across its runtime and trying desperately to figure it out. This is a movie that doesn’t show you anything at all. It doesn’t even want to!

I think back to other movies I’ve reviewed in the last year like Pearl and Tar where I noted in my reviews that little-to-nothing really happened in them, and you know what? Those two flicks are John Wick compared to Skinamarink.

(Not that that necessarily means they are BETTER, especially in Pearl’s case since, unlike Skinamarink, Pearl is simply tedious)

The problem in regards to Skinamarink is that the entire first half hour is NOTHING. You are thirty minutes into the movie before anything even happens, and then you’ve got another half an hour of things BARELY happening… in a one-hundred minute feature film!

(Even that implies that stuff DOES happen in the last forty minutes, but no… it just another step up of things a-little-less-barely happening)

There’s a difference between “eschewing convention to do something new” and “not actually making a movie”. Does Skinamarink straddle that line or fall off of it? Hell, I don’t know.

-It feels weird to ding Skinamarink for its acting because there… isn’t any. You have some children whispering, but that’s it. But here we are. Who are the “actors” here? Are there any? Who am I cheering for? The cameraman? Is there even one of those?! Most of the shots are still. I feel like this movie could have had three credits: Director, Whispering Child #1, and Whispering Child #2. What did anyone else on set even do?

+ Creepy. Unsettling. Off-putting. However I phrase it, the point is that Skinamarink got under my skin as I watched it. I went from wanting it to end because it was boring to wanting it to end because I was wanting to crawl out of my own skin and run away from what was being given to me. I know it left me feeling creeped the hell out and uncomfortable. It just takes SO LONG to get there. Too bad the first thirty minutes weren’t cut down to ten or less. That would unequivocally have helped out a great deal.

It’s the perfect use of sound (again, headphones were basically a necessity here) and the grainy footage that kept making it look like something MIGHT be happening if you just… looked… harder. I felt like there was something JUST out of reach. It was a decibel too low or a shade too dark, but… something was THERE. And it was eerie.

Also, when the characters did speak or the camera did move, it all happened so slowly, and this guttural instinct within me just wanted it to be faster. But it wasn’t impatience, it was a sense of dread. Look faster, talk more quickly. The danger is THERE, and the movie is just letting it exist as it does everything at this leisurely pace!

+It’s a big swing. If this was a cartoon, it would be the baseball player who swipes at the ball so hard, he corkscrews himself. The BALLS of this movie to just be what it is are incomprehensible! Someone made this and was like “Yep, totally gonna release this and just let people watch it like it’s a complete movie”.


You could give this movie a perfect score, or you could call it garbage, and I couldn’t disagree. This is about as subjective as filmmaking is going to get. For me, I’m quite impressed with how it took me from frustrated and bored to engaged and unsettled. I refused to turn it off in the early going, and I felt rewarded for that, but… if you don’t, I can 100% see why that would be. As someone who rarely finds horror “scary”, though… I thought this was scary. In a weird, not-that-scary kind of way.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

4 thoughts on “Skinamarink Review

  1. Your reaction to this movie reminds me of my reaction to the film Gummo. Gummo isn’t horror but it’s a movie where nothing and everything happens at the same time and I had a hard time processing it or even deciding if I liked it or not. 20 years on and I’m still wondering how I felt about it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Gummo is an arthouse movie that came out in, I wanna say 2001. It was done by Harmony Korine who also did the movie Kids and a bunch of other stuff that’s really fucked up and weird. Gummo is just a really, really hard movie to watch and I never could figure out if he was saying something profound or just being trashy. Or maybe both.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. nice stew..! u inspired me to do my own letterboxd just now
    ill paste it here

    shortly after watching skinamarink i caught a clip from barbarian
    its crazy how produced it looked
    it screamed IM NOT REAL IM A MOVIE

    for me skinamarink tapped into what nightmares felt like when i was a kid
    and i reckon if i was four stuck on purgatory street with a maleviolent force effing with me for 357 days and counting
    it would look and feel and sound like this
    dark and disorientating and nightmare logical
    not ‘plot and jump scares every 10 minutes or it will be boring’

    i didnt think id like skinamarink
    im old and snarky and my default is to goof on everything
    but im with the tiktokers on this one

    Liked by 1 person

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