The Skin (Review)

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THE SKIN

THE SETUP

Firstly I’d just like to say thanks to Justin Timms, Co-Writer and Director of the 8 minute Horror short, “The Skin” for allowing me early access to an online screener. After the mysterious death of her father, Lena (played by Claudine Quadrat) discovers that her sister Sarah (Elizabeth Paige) is showing signs of the same symptoms he had. After happening upon a local country hick named Otis (Martin Pfefferkorn), Lena puts a plan in motion to prevent her sister experiencing a similar fate.

THE GOOD

The film opens with a close look at a young woman’s skin, that of Sarah’s (Paige) as she moisturizer’s her arms and face with cream. She’s quickly interrupted by her sister Lena and told they need to get back on the road to head for their family cabin. The sequencing of events here is presented in a clever and subtle way, never once alluding to what may occur at the climax of the film. The audio levels are loud and clear and the color grading/saturation is nice and natural. I think the strongest aspect here is the clunky and unnerving sound effects/score. I wasn’t expecting something so subtle to be so eerie, it was great. Most of the film is neatly edited and there’s several great shot choices as well. The standout sequence involves some effective panning from one side of the road to the other when Otis happens upon the girls who’ve broken down. Not only do Claudine and Elizabeth do a great job in their respective roles, it helps that they look like they could be related anyway. The makeup effects during the films final moments were a great way to finish what is a striking short.

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THE BAD

My only criticism of The Skin is that there’s some unevenness in camera movements when the Action/Suspense picks up. Everything up until that point is done using a lot of Steadicam and clear cuts. When things escalate out in the forest it falls down a bit with some of that familiar shaky footage we’re used to seeing, luckily it doesn’t last that long. In the synopsis for the film it states that the girls now deceased father was showing strange symptoms before he died, I would’ve liked to have known a lot more about that finer plot point. I understand that with such a short running time you can’t necessarily delve into details and back story though, so maybe that’s all going to be revealed in a later sequel, Who knows? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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The Skin is an entertaining and polished short, made all the more impressive by the fact it’s Timms first time behind the camera. He’s done extremely well to get most of the technical aspects to a high standard and his cast two female leads that really look the part. I loved the interesting direction it took and the sound effects/score were the highlight for me. Some of those camera movements could have been sweetened and I would have liked some more exposition and clarity within the plot details, maybe some newspaper clippings or something similar but that aside it’s a great watch. Keep an eye out for “The Skin”, which will be coming soon!

My rating for “The Skin” is 8.5/10

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