Published Jul 28, 2014Some will praise this moody sci-fi film for offering a brilliant cinematic experience that exposes how males prey on beautiful women. Then, there are others, like me, who consider Under The Skin a superficial film that is a triumph of style over story.
The story is vaguely about an alien played by Scarlett Johansson speaking in a passable Scottish accent, luring men into a car and murdering them. We don't know how Johansson got to Earth, why she's killing men, or even her name. She speaks very little. Early on, there's a man who appears to be her partner, but he is never explained. Johansson exists in this film to attract, seduce and ultimately slay men.
Sure, some of the guys hit on her, like one unlucky lad in a Glasgow dance club, though many are poor sods she picks up on the street, such as one deformed fellow who looks like the Elephant Man. Their murders are filmed abstractly — nude bodies sinking beneath a jet-black landscape as dissonant strings shriek on the soundtrack, like a fork scraping a plate. Those sequences are downright chilling, and owe more than a nod to Stanley Kubrick and Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell To Earth.
There's no doubting the craft that went into this film. Sound and image create a consistent eeriness that most horror movies fail to replicate. Johansson moves enigmatically, silently with a blank expression, across the grey Scottish countryside, which only adds to the unsettling atmosphere. However, her journey ultimately is pointless. Her character and the film leave me cold, despite repeated viewings and mesmerizing visuals. Ultimately, Under The Skin feels like it says nothing.
The Blu-ray comes with a making of featurette that is broken into ten categories, such as casting and music that wouldn't play on my Blu-ray player. Quality unknown.