If you enjoyed Skinamarink from Shudder, here are seven other horror films you should check out. Skinamarink (2023), a Canadian independent experimental horror film, was made on a $15,000 budget but ended up making more than a hundred times that amount at the box office. Director Kyle Edward Ball’s reliance on low-fi visual and aural tactics to evoke fear in his groundbreaking independent horror movie, which did away with traditional narrative structures, won the picture an immediate following.
The movie, which is currently available to watch on Shudder, centres on two young kids named Kaylee and Kevin (Dali Rose Tetreault and Lucas Paul, respectively), who discover their father is missing when they wake up in the middle of the night. Additionally, their home’s windows and doors appear to have vanished, trapping the kids within. As if that weren’t enough, the kids start to get a mystery call from upstairs.
The movie has received a lot of attention for capturing a childlike sense of fear and for taking a distinctively low-fi approach to horror. Here are seven horror movies that, like Skinamarink, will make your hair stand on end and that are either formal, visual, or narratively comparable.
We’re concentrating on the horror subgenre for this list, but fans of the film’s distinctive experimental style would also enjoy the works of directors like Stan Brakhage (Dog Star Man), Maya Deren (Meshes of the Afternoon), Chantel Akerman (Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles), and Kenneth Anger (Scorpio Rising), all of whom Ball cited as influences.
For now, if you like Skinamarik, check out these other seven scary movies:
Before directing the critically acclaimed but little-known Shadow of the Vampire (2000), a meta-historical examination of the production of Nosferatu, E. Elias Merhige created Begotten (1989). Begotten, an enigmatic black-and-white silent-horror movie, was quickly recognised as a modern creative masterpiece by the likes of Susan Sontag and other cultural experts.
Begotten, as its name suggests, centres on the issue of birth and death, but in unexpected ways. It draws inspiration from Theatre of Cruelty and Nietzsche’s philosophy.
Even though Begotten and Skinamarink only have experimental roots in common, they both rely on unsettling visuals and depart from conventional horror filmmaking techniques. And like Skinamarink, you would be scouring the web for Begotten-related theories and interpretations that are as interesting as they are unsettling.
What better way to begin this list than to mention the short movie that ultimately served as the inspiration for Skinamarink? This short film, which Ball created for his Bitesized Nightmares YouTube channel and was directed by the person behind Skinamarink, served as the inspiration for the filmmaker to expand the story into a full-length film.
In Heck, a little child wakes up in the middle of the night to discover his mother is absent, which is a plot similar to Skinamarink. Think of this as a more focused tiny version of Skinamarink since Ball uses the same grainy, low-fi technique to capture the existential fear of a child who is abandoned by his or her mother.
The short works best after watching the feature-length version since it appears to support a shady Skinamarink theory on Reddit. Once you’ve seen the movie, you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. On YouTube, Heck is accessible for free.
With its concentration on a cursed demonic mirror, Oculus—possibly the only “popular” entry on our list and the most well-known—might appear much too removed from the enigmatic Sk inamarink. In Oculus, however, two young siblings (Annalise Basso and Garrett Ryan Ewald in excellent performances) are compelled to act when a cursed mirror sends their parents into a downward spiral, a more pronounced version of the sympathetic brother-sister relationship at the centre of Skinamarink is depicted.
Oculus is a flawlessly produced psychological horror that solidified Mike Flanagan’s position as a rising talent in the horror genre despite its reliance on some established horror cliches. What distinguishes Oculus from other horror films is its emphasis on the sister-brother relationship in the face of a primordial evil. If the image of a young Kevin bringing Kaylee a glass of juice touched your heart, then Oculus’ depiction of a protective sibling connection is definitely worth seeing out!
The Babadook (2014)
Skinamarink is not the first movie to feature a monster with a deep voice that prods kids into performing strange things. That was done first by The Babadook by Jennifer Kent! The story centres on Amelia (Essie Davis), a single mother who shares a home with Samuel, her oddball 6-year-old kid (Noah Wiseman). Amelia already has a demanding lifestyle, so the appearance of a mystery picture book about the titular monster starts to rock her world.
Jennifer Kent’s feature film debut, an allegory for despair and parenthood, established the framework for the so-called “elevated horror” movement, which challenged the perception of horror as a genre for cheap thrills. The Babadook is a jewel that comes highly recommended if, like Skinamarink, you like some specific thematic or experiential understanding from your movie.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The Blair Witch Project, although being a found-footage movie, has many startling similarities to Skinamarink. Despite the fact that both films were directed by unknown filmmakers and produced on a meagre budget, their phenomenal commercial success can be attributed to their effective viral marketing.
But beyond this marketing ploy, The Blair Witch Project and Skinamarink evoke a pervasive sense of dread that isn’t interrupted by a simple solution or cheap jump scares (although that’s not to say there aren’t any). In both movies, evil is never overtly displayed on screen, which heightens the dread of its lurking presence. The Blair Witch Project executed the found-footage genre more delicately than its sequels, even though it has since been overused and deconstructed, demonstrating that the most terrifying thing is one you can’t see.
The Grandmother (1970)
The Grandmother, with its narrative centering on a lonely youngster, does have some resonances with Skinamarink’s theme of parental abandonment, even though any of David Lynch’s oddball shorts may have made this list. A child from an abusive home finds a bag of seeds and plants them in this surrealist and eerie short film.
As the seed grows into a devoted and caring grandma for the child, our protagonist reaps greater rewards than he had sown. However, don’t let the film’s eerie visuals and enduring unease be overshadowed by the outlandish plot.
This impressionistic surreal short horror movie is the ideal introduction to the American auteur’s nightmare visions, especially because Ball credits Lynch’s oeuvre as an influence on Skinamarink.
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2022)
Gay director Kyle Edward Ball admitted that his movie Skinamarink was a part of a new generation of queer filmmakers who utilise horror as a lens to subtly explore LGBT issues in an interview with Roger Ebert.com. Jane Schoenbrun, a pioneering member of this new generation of filmmakers, produced the horror picture We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, which generated a comparable buzz. Additionally, Schoenbrun is glowing about Skinamarink!
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, a film that walks the border between experimental and independent, tells the tale of Casey (Anna Cobb), a teen who accepts the ominous, evil Internet challenge that is meant to change your body into something else. Even though WAGTTWF incorporates elements from Internet creepypastas, it is not interested in using these horrors’ mythology to generate cheap frights. Schoenbrun reveals a profound examination of growing up in the digital age as she uses the Internet to investigate issues of identity, loneliness, and alienation.
We certainly predict a bright future for this new wave of queer horror movies, with Robbie Banfitch’s The Outwaters being another much awaited release this year.
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