Story: The year is 1914, and new meteorologist comes to a remote island near Antarctica for a year’s rotation. He’s not alone though; the lighthouse keeper is close by. Crazy as hell, but close. So’s the local fauna, which includes fishlike humanoids that storm the two buildings nightly. Gonna be a long year.
Scares: Lots of nighttime attacks by the fish folk.
Splat factor: Blood splatters and bloody bodies are seen, but little else is shown.
Closing scene “shocker”?: Nope.
Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Feels like a cousin to The Shape of Water, but it’s an original.
Trick or Treat?: Like The Shape of Water, this is more a think piece that happens to have fish people in it, than a horror movie. The real monster is man’s inability to live with the differences in the world. I got I Am Legend vibes here too, with the humans mowing down the creatures with little thought. But Skin takes these ideas and spins them into a fresh, compelling story.
The film spends almost all of the time on three characters: Gruber, the crazy/vicious keeper; Friend, the new meteorologist (we never find out his original name; Gruber simply decides to call him “Friend”); and a female creature Gruber has violently “domesticated” that Friend names Aneris.
Gruber is a hoot of a nutter, living life as though every day could be his last…but his mean streak belies serious mental issues. Perhaps from being on the island for too long? Friend’s arc is one of Unknowing Outsider who comes to recognize the humanity of the creatures, as well as their right to exist. The performances are glorious to watch, especially the incredibly expressive Aura Garrido as the abused Aneris.
This film is a slow burn with nightly stormings of the lighthouse. But if you let yourself sink into the story, it’s an interesting way to spend almost two hours.
Score: 3.5 out of 5 pumpkins.