Combustible Celluloid Review - Skinamarink (2023), Kyle Edward Ball, Kyle Edward Ball, Lucas Paul, Dali Rose Tetreault, Ross Paul, Jaime Hill
Combustible Celluloid
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With: Lucas Paul, Dali Rose Tetreault, Ross Paul, Jaime Hill
Written by: Kyle Edward Ball
Directed by: Kyle Edward Ball
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 100
Date: 01/13/2023

Skinamarink (2023)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Door That's Not There

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A truly unique and absolutely terrifying horror movie, this experimental nightmare does not follow standard story structures, and is not for everyone, but those that brave it won't soon forget it.

Young siblings Kevin (Lucas Paul) and Kaylee (Dali Rose Tetreault) awaken in a dark house to find their parents gone, and the doors and windows vanished. They decide to go downstairs, where they can watch cartoons. Menacing sounds come from around the house, and toys and other objects begin to disappear. Other objects appear on the ceiling.

Something terrible happens to Kaylee, leaving Kevin all on his own with some unnamed, sinister force which apparently has the power to do anything.

A feature debut by YouTuber Kyle Edward Ball ("Bitesized Nightmares"), Skinamarink is an unabashed experimental movie, without much discernible plot, characters that almost never appear on camera, and dialogue that is often unintelligible. (Subtitles sometimes, but not always, pop up to help.) It's more interested in creating an unsettling feeling of terror, of being trapped in a nightmare, and it fully succeeds.

Skinamarink resembles an old movie, shot on film, with scratches and grain, while the audio sounds worn-out, bass-heavy, full of hiss, and distorted. Old cartoons play on a TV set, and their cheery chirps warp into horrible noise. Sometimes things are too dark to see clearly, but blurry or indistinct things within the frame can creep you out. Other times the mere act of cutting from one shot to another creates a jolt.

At 100 minutes, the movie may be too long to fully sustain its spell, but it's still an incredible work.

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