Firstly I’d just like to say thank you to Writer/Director, Kyle Martellacci for allowing me early access to an online screener of his 18 minute, Body Horror/Mystery short, “Candy Skin”. David Yersin (played by Renny Jachowicz) has recently taken a trip to the doctor’s office, with the hopes of finding out the cause of his sudden ill-health. He’s given relief and told to go home and rest. Shortly after falling asleep, he wakes to realize his seemingly normal existence with partner, Lynne (Stephanie Moran) isn’t what it seems. The film also stars Charles Alexander and Clayton Millette. With the independent film community being a fairly tight-knit one, Kyle knew of me and was kind enough to reach out with his latest short film. After doing a little digging, I realized he was in a scene from a short that Fatal Pictures released called, “Worm” *see review* https://adamthemoviegod.com/worm-review/, as well as also appearing in Brett Kelly’s horrible creature feature “Jurassic Shark” (not to hold anything against him haha). This is Kyle’s fourth short and my first introduction to his work.
Candy Skin feels like an idea inspired by the likes of David Cronenberg, particularly films like “The Fly” and “Crimes Of The Future”. It’s a somewhat uneven but intriguing blend of Mystery and Drama with a hint of science fiction about it. This is a Canadian made short and the production value looks really good. Most of the scenes are well shot, the camera work feels personal and everything is framed accordingly. During the opening section of the film there’s a lovely “Twin Peaks” style, synth theme, it doesn’t last long but it sounds great. From there, some clever bass drops help build the suspense. The remainder of the score is a mix of 80’s, Giallo inspired synth and intense vibrato sounds, which accelerate as the narrative does. The sound is the best part of the film and reminded me of some early Polanski films and more recently Mickey Keating’s *see reviews* https://adamthemoviegod.com/carnage-park-review/ and https://adamthemoviegod.com/darling-review/. Kudos go to Martellacci for being able to clear the streets and surrounding locations in order to make this environment feel uninhabited. I’m not sure how you go about doing that in small town Canada but somehow he did. The practical effects and makeup work is of a high standard and took the short in a direction I didn’t think it was heading.
On the technical front, the dialogue audio could have been a little higher, that said, it’s only being played through standard computer speakers. Like “Pigskin” (another recent short I reviewed), I wasn’t a fan of the rotating camera work conveying David’s sudden isolation in the streets. I understand it serves a purpose in magnifying the gravity of the characters situation, it just makes for a difficult watch is all and my personal preference was to see it established in another manner. There’s also a brief slow motion sequence as David comes under potential threat outside his house, it didn’t really add anything to the film and only confused me. Some of Martellacci’s dialogue feels a little stiff and the delivery from both Jachowicz and Alexander during their interaction, seems a bit forced. Not all the details of the story were entirely clear to me either (could be because I take notes), so it’s probably the type of short I’ll have to go back and watch again at some point.
Candy Skin is my first foray into the work of Kyle Martellacci and I’m pretty impressed with what I saw. I like the Cronenberg style narrative and the consistent framework and shot choices. The highlights though are definitely the 80’s synth based score and the detailed practical effects and makeup. A couple of decisions down to creative license weren’t necessarily to my liking and the audio could have been a little louder. I’m not entirely clear on all the stories specifics but I was more than entertained and I can see the potential to expand on this story. Candy Skin is currently doing the festival rounds but you can check out the trailer below!
My rating for “Candy Skin” is 7.5/10