This movie was another entry into the Chicago International Film Festival that I wasn’t able to get tickets for but instead watched a screener of at my house. I knew it was a home invasion film, but considering it was playing a film festival, I figured In Their Skin might have something more to offer to the genre. There have been a few home invasion movies I really enjoyed, like Ils, The Strangers, and Funny Games, but I feel like the formula of “people break in and do bad things” is pretty limiting, and the reason I enjoy those movies I listed is because the reasons for the invasion are relatively vague and the victims seemingly random. I think the more specific you get with who the victims are and why they’re being attacked, the less it seems like something that could happen to anyone. What do you think will happen with In Their Skin? Are they skin stealers? Maybe, I don’t know, Selma Blair does seem kind of freaknasty.
“Hey bro I saw that Hellboy movie so I gotta know if your wife has ever set your dick on fire in the middle of a hand whammy.”
Mark (Joshua Close) and Mary (Selma Blair) are heading to their cottage in the woods for a vacation with their son Brendon (Quinn Lord), but when you can feel the tension between the two, you learn that they recently lost their daughter and are struggling with their marriage. The first morning they’re there, they are woken up by some neighbors noisily giving them some wood, and when Mark engages with them, he ends up inviting them over for dinner that night. Bobby (James D’Arcy) and Jane (Rachel Miner) bring their son along with them, and give Mark and Mary an onslaught of personal questions. The more personal these questions get as the night goes on, the more uncomfortable Mark and Mary get, and when Brendon comes to them crying and saying the other boy threatened him with a knife, the guests are asked to leave. Unfortunately, their night doesn’t end there, because when Mark investigates a strange noise, he is attacked and taken captive and brought back to his own house. From there, Mark and Mary are subjected to violence, forced to sleep with one another in front of Bobby and Jane, and we learn it’s all because Bobby and Jane are jealous of their lives and hoping to take it from them. In fact, Bobby and Jane aren’t even their real names, but the names of the last couple that they did this to. When Mark and Mary realize that their “perfection” is what brought this on and reveal to Bobby and Jane that they’re not quite perfect, how will they respond? Watch the movie and then you’ll know!
Holy shit, I was just looking up why I haven’t seen Selma Blair in any movies recently and saw that she’s 40 years old. Where has the time gone since seeing her drool on Sarah Michelle Gellar’s lips?!
Even though the narrative of this movie wasn’t really anything that hasn’t been done before, it did do some things well. Firstly, the whole thing just looked really cool. With all the scenes of the woods and trees, things looked really desolate and isolated from the world, as well as the whole temperature of the movie was gloomy and doomy. Another strength was that it was paced pretty slowly, so it was pretty far into the movie when “shit got real”, as the kids say, and the movie didn’t have to rely on a bunch of attempts of Mark and Mary to overpower their captors. I think that there were only two times where you saw the victims making a move to overpower Bobby and Jane, rather than most other movies having victims attempt, and fail, to overpower their tormentors. I don’t want to give away the ending explicitly, but it does have a relatively happy ending, which was another difference from other home invasion movies. Other than that, this movie didn’t really do that much for me, but I think if home invasion horror is what you’re interested in, then this movie will probably stand out against the crowd.
Wolfman Moon Scale