‘Skinamarink’ gives ‘pure unadulterated fright,’ says critic

Written by Amy Ta and Danielle Chiriguayo, produced by Marcelle Hutchins

“Skinamarink” is an experimental horror film from Canadian YouTuber Kyle Edward Ball. “It feels so much like a genuine nightmare that you just can't escape the pure unadulterated fright that it's giving you,” says film critic Witney Seibold. Photo credit: Youtube

KCRW gets reviews on the latest film releases from Christy Lemire, film critic for RogerEbert.com and co-host of the podcast “Breakfast All Day,” and Witney Seibold, contributor to SlashFilm and co-host of the podcast “Critically Acclaimed.”


“Skinamarink” is an experimental horror movie written, directed, and edited by Canadian YouTuber Kyle Edward Ball. It follows two kids who are trapped in their home alone, and it reportedly cost $15,000 to make. 

Lemire: “This is really not for everybody. If you want structure, if you want tension, if you want the kind of pacing that you're accustomed to in a horror movie, this is going to be tough for you. But if you're up for the challenge of leaning in and allowing yourself to be ensconced in the atmosphere — and there's a whole throughline with creepy cartoons that are playing on the TV that illuminate the dark living room, and that's something that looks light-hearted and happy, but within this context, it's really disturbing.”

Seibold: “Your eye is constantly gazing very deeply just into the grain of the film itself. And the filmmakers know how to take that grain and actually have images appear and disappear in it. And so, sometimes there are images, you're half-glimpsing. And it feels so much like a genuine nightmare that you just can't escape the pure unadulterated fright that it's giving you.”


Starring Gerard Butler and directed by French filmmaker Jean-François Richet, “Plane” is about a pilot who is forced to make an emergency landing on a tiny, war-torn island in the Philippines.

Seibold: “I wish I had some more fun with this movie because it is completely utilitarian. There is no flare. There is no florid language. There is no exciting shooting. It's just straightforward, get down to it. It is completely without sophistication.” 

He continues, “It would have been nice to have just somebody with a little bit more violent charisma than Gerard Butler. … He's a machine, you just plug him into an action movie, and he’ll be Scottish and punch a guy. And if you're into Gerard Butler being Scottish and punching people, then ‘Plane’ will fill that need. It will fill nothing else.”


In this South Korean drama directed by Japanese filmmaker Kore-eda Hirokazu, a man is part of a scheme to illegally sell orphaned infants to wealthy couples. 

Seibold: “This is not the dark thriller that it sounds like. In fact, this is a very warm, very emotional, very sentimental film. Hirokazu Koreeda, he tends to tell stories about castoffs from society. …  This is about literal abandoned children in Korea.”

Lemire: “It raises a lot of ethical questions, because is it better for these kids to go into orphanages, or is it better for Song Kang-Ho and his partner to sell them to a wealthy couple who will ideally give the child a great life?”

“No Bears”

This follows troubled lovers in two different relationships, and it stars Jafar Panahi, who’s been in prison in Iran for years. He plays a fictionalized version of himself, and within the film, he makes a melodrama about a couple trying to flee Iran. 

Seibold: “The title alludes to the bears that live around the outskirts of the village, that live in the forests. There are, however, no bears. The villagers are afraid to leave. … [It’s] a very clear metaphor for the Iranian state. And it's very heady. It's very cerebral. I feel like he's going to very dark and cold, emotional places, and not coming to very warm conclusions about the human condition.”