Skinamarink ★★★★

Can't help but think about how much this owes (intentionally or not) to James Benning, specifically Maggie’s Farm and Natural History in how private architectural spaces shot at uncanny, peripheral angles create the sense of both antagonistic, impossible geography as well as dreadful secrets that lie just barely out of reach despite the camera penetrating deep into the physical space itself; these are then things that do not exist within the frame but stifle everything inside as if they do. Benning's glory and Nightfall are also works that play with the deterioration of fidelity: the former demonstrating how ocean spray and rainwater obscures the camera lens (the only necessary filter between us and film) as the wind likewise erodes the sole subject over time, and the latter plunging a single unmoving shot into pitch-blackness creating non-existent "presences" through its crushed blacks and environmental soundscapes.

Skinamarink of course is its own thing, but it is interesting in how little cinematic comparison to it can be found outside of avant- and experimental-film (I chose Benning specifically due to familiarity but others such as Akerman's Hotel Monterey and Grandrieux's A Lake come to mind as well), yet that is what makes it truly horrifying. It is what would otherwise be a conventional horror premise stripped down to the extreme essentials utilizing nothing but compositions of the outskirts and out-of-frame occurrences to make us fear something we never actually fully see – and in doing so never breaking the illusion in showing us what could never live up to the horror we imagine there to be. It is, if nothing else, some of the most economical horror there is.

Stagnant as shit, but also scary as shit. At multiple points I wanted to get on my knees and beg for my life 👍

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