Opinion — Review of “Skinamarink”

Jakob Ross

I do not have a clue how it was done but watching “Skinamarink” was like reliving childhood trauma. 

Like everyone else, I was afraid of the dark as a kid. I was not necessarily afraid of the dark itself, but what could be lurking in it. The thought of being alone in a dark house with no window to look out of, no doors for escape and the only light source being a dimly lit television is truly haunting. I would play cartoons to bring myself comfort as I tried to dampen the thought of someone else creeping around my house.

After many users of TikTok proclaimed “Skinamarink” to be “the scariest film they have ever seen,” it immediately grabbed my attention (and doubt) because the previously recommended “Megan is Missing,” “The Poughkeepsie Tapes” and “Incantation” were some of the dumbest horror movies ever made. But after hearing “Skinamarink” be compared to one of the scariest films I have ever seen, “Hereditary,” I was really on board.

What I love about “Skinamarink” is that it takes its time when revealing its true horror. This film demonstrates some of the best tension-building I have seen in a long time, which is aptly achieved by its terrifying cinematography and sound design, feeding off the unknown and taking you back to a time when you could not explain the noises in the ceiling or what might be hiding in the dark corners of a room. It is visual storytelling at its finest. 

In any other circumstance, I despise the use of jump scares by filmmakers. But because of how scared I was, they relieved so much tension for me. If this film did not utilize this technique, I would have been pissing my pants near the last 20 minutes.

Speaking of the last 20 minutes, the final moments in this film have some of the scariest visuals I have ever seen on-screen. The imagery was very reminiscent of “The Walten Files” and “The Mandela Catalogue.” All of these demonstrate that if you stare into darkness for long enough, you will start to see things.

It is all about the experience if you choose to give “Skinamrink” a watch. Sorry, but you will need to have the lights off with the volume cranked if you really want to be immersed in this. I never once had the urge to turn on the lights, but I often wanted to look away from the horrors being displayed on-screen.

I am sure many will describe this film as pretentious because of its strange presentation and storytelling. Admittedly, this film is not for everyone, and I can see many hating it for not having a lot to grab onto with its thin plot. “Skinamarink” is an experimental horror film for sure, but I have a lot of respect for filmmaker Kyle Edward Ball, who managed to not only craft an incredibly original horror film but actually make it upsettingly terrifying. 

“Skinamarink” is going to make late-night bathroom trips even more uncomfortable.