Thursday, October 18, 2018

31 Days of Dread--Day 18

Under the Skin; 2013; written by Walter Campbell & Jonathan Glazer, based on the novel by Michel Faber; directed by Jonathan Glazer

Under the Skin is, pardon the pun, a wholly alien experience. From the opening moments--a series of 2001-like shots, set to what sounds like a woman repeating fragments of words over an anxious string orchestra--it's clear we've entered an unfamiliar world.

The loosely jointed story follows an extra-terrestrial, played by a vacant and dead-eyed Scarlett Johansson, who preys upon men in Glasgow. With each successive capture she seems to understand a bit more what she is and exactly what it is she's doing, until the tables are finally turned in a scene of eerie and somber beauty.

The film's deliberate pace and elliptical style isn't for everyone. Fans of David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick will likely feel most at home.

But even those who prefer straight-ahead thrillers will walk away with some unforgettable visuals stuck in their heads. The oily black pool where Johansson's targets shrivel and collapse. The moment a naked Johansson brings a lamp close to her body and reacts with disgust at what she finds. The alien being, stripped bare and defenseless, crouched in a snowy woods.

Under the Skin is available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and streaming rental.

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