In Their Skin
Jeremy Power Regimbal
Mixed in with this set up is the element of grief and defeatism with successful young couple Mary (Selma Blair) and Mark (Josh Close) grieving the death of their daughter while on a cottage trip with their surviving son Brendon (Quinn Lord). While Mark tries to hold his family together and rebuild a bond in the face of tragedy, Mary escapes from reality with wine and distancing introspection.
Contrasting this dynamic as mirrored by the visual palette is the arrival of neighbours Bobby (James D'Arcy) and Jane (Rachel Miner) along with their son Jared (Alex Ferris) early one morning with the unlikely gift of firewood and wide-eyed envy. Demonstrating off kilter body language and a strange backwoods story of living isolated without a car, they weasel their way into a culinary invite, exploiting Mark's sense of propriety and social etiquette, much to Mary's annoyance.
The strength of this compelling, yet distressing and anxiety inducing, examination of social performance, comes from the unsettling sense of impending chaos as Bobby and Jane demonstrate increasingly erratic behaviour at the central dinner party. Mary drinks and mutters veiled snide remarks while Mark tries to hold things together by asking generic small talk questions about employment and demographic background. What's discomforting about this setup, beyond the inconsistencies in back story and passive-aggressive politeness is the fact that Bobby and Jane appear to be mirroring the speech and behaviours of their hosts while asking them increasingly invasive questions.
In addition to using an imperiled family unit as metaphor for fighting grief in the face of tragedy, In Their Skin tackles the concept of success and identity as cultural performance within a vacuum of self-involvement. When living the dream or demonstrating one's external adherence to a dominant socio-economic ethos by buying big houses or parking expensive, inefficient cars in our driveways, the unspoken goal is to impress others or inspire jealousy, thus proving ourselves superior. What this genuinely creepy and smartly low-key thriller suggests is that this bid for validation may inadvertently attract the wrong kind of attention. (Kinosmith)
ReviewsOct 29, 2014
The BabadookJennifer Kent
At every Toronto After Dark Fest, there's at least one film that rides a wave of palpable buzz and has attendees clamouring to see it. Last ...
ReviewsOct 24, 2014
Films about time travel are some of the trickiest ones to create as far as sci-fi subgenres are concerned — it's not so much about the...
ReviewsOct 23, 2014
Why Horror?Nicolas Kleiman, Rob Lindsay
As a nerd, it's always pretty weird seeing your favourite genre rise to the surface of mainstream culture, and horror is no exception. In hi...
ReviewsOct 22, 2014
Time LapseBradley King
You don't fuck with time. That's the philosophical takeaway - an idea espoused time and time again by one of the lead characters - in Bradle...
ReviewsOct 21, 2014
John Geddes' Hellmouth is a kaleidoscopic vision of hell that tantalizes with some bewitching visuals but ultimately comes off more as funho...
ReviewsOct 20, 2014
Kumiko, The Treasure HunterDavid Zellner
In 2001, a woman named Takako Konishi was found dead in a remote area of Minnesota. Botched eyewitness information swirled into an urban leg...
ReviewsOct 19, 2014
Man, I really wanted to like Zombeavers. Based on the trailer, which currently boasts over three million hits on YouTube, the film seemed li...
ReviewsOct 18, 2014
ABCs of Death 2Various Directors
When producers Ant Timpson and Tim League announced that they'd be producing a followup to 2012's highly ambitious anthology film The ABCs o...