As a child, the fear of the unknown is one of the scariest feelings you can experience. Things that as an adult we take for granted, like the courage to navigate your own home in the middle of the night with no lights on, are gigantic feats for younger kids. But do you ever still second guess yourself, even as an adult? What is that shadow on the wall there? What was that noise I just heard? I feel that everyone can say they have had at least one experience as an adult that made them briefly transport back to their child-like fear state. Kyle Edward Ball’s debut feature-length film, Skinamarink, gave me this feeling for its whole runtime.

The film’s plot is simple; two children awake to their father being gone, and as they start to explore the house, they realize that all doors and windows have disappeared, and there is something there with them. It’s truly like something out of a Creepypasta, but that isn’t a bad thing. The reason those types of stories worked is because of their focus on images and stories of things that just feel off. Yes, it can be scary to see a conventional figure like a ghost or zombie on screen, but what about something normal that’s a little off? The uneasiness that comes with that is a wholly different experience. 

The dark atmosphere permeates throughout the runtime, increasing the tension as every second goes by. This is also reflected in the filming style, which embraces the imperfection of 90’s lo-fi cameras to further plant the seed of eeriness. The majority of the time I felt like I was seeing someone, or something in the shot, but couldn’t ever conclude if it was actually there or if my mind was playing tricks on me. 

Cementing itself as undoubtedly one of my favorite horror movies ever, Skinamarink is not a movie to be seen; it is meant to be experienced. See it in a theater, or see it alone at home, but just remember, don’t go upstairs.

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