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"Under the Skin" Reviews/Discussion - 2020 Horror Challenge

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"Under the Skin" Reviews/Discussion - 2020 Horror Challenge

Old 09-30-20, 12:47 AM
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"Under the Skin" Reviews/Discussion - 2020 Horror Challenge

Under the Skin (2013)

Selected by Bladz

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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.

Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.







Last edited by Chad; 10-08-20 at 09:56 PM.
Old 10-21-20, 05:40 PM
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Re: "Under the Skin" Reviews/Discussion - 2020 Horror Challenge

This was a repeat view for me. While I liked it the first time I saw it, I actually wasn't looking forward to a rewatch. I didn't think I was in the right mood, but it's very hypnotic and just sort of draws you in. Before I knew it, an hour had already passed.

Scarlet was great as the alien. It says a lot about an actress when she can do a lot with very few words. It also says a lot about her performance and the way it was shot that when she finally does extensive nudity for a movie, it's very unsexy.

I don't entirely understand the void. I always took it as the way that it eats and consumes things, but as far as what that void is, I guess I would go with a disguised space ship. Maybe they enter a parallel dimension. I don't really know. And likely some mind control or something. Are they really that oblivious to this whole void they're walking into? Hey, how come I'm getting lower? Let's just calmly trek on.

And I'm guessing the motorcyclist is another alien out keeping watch over her, but I would have liked to learn more about that, although it's a bit of credit to the director for keeping it unknown.

Very interesting film that leaves you with more to puzzle over during subsequent viewings.
Old 10-21-20, 06:22 PM
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Re: "Under the Skin" Reviews/Discussion - 2020 Horror Challenge

I'm not going to watch this. Ever. I heard about
the screaming baby left on the beach

and I just don't ever want to see that. Ever.
Old 10-24-20, 04:51 PM
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Re: "Under the Skin" Reviews/Discussion - 2020 Horror Challenge

This reminded me of Annihilation. Not plot wise or anything, just two movies that I really liked visually, but ultimately confused me to the point where I lost interest by the time they got where they were going. Just like that sentence.
The beach scene was really unnerving, but will stick with me like the ending.
Old 10-24-20, 06:50 PM
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Re: "Under the Skin" Reviews/Discussion - 2020 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Toddarino View Post
This reminded me of Annihilation. Not plot wise or anything, just two movies that I really liked visually, but ultimately confused me to the point where I lost interest by the time they got where they were going..
This is exactly how i feel about it (both movies, actually). Thanks for putting it into words.

I did enjoy this one a bit more watching it today, for the second time.
Old 10-24-20, 11:44 PM
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Re: "Under the Skin" Reviews/Discussion - 2020 Horror Challenge

Under The Skin is a brilliant piece of horror/ sci-fi that is commenting (I think) on the performative nature of gender and what defines us as human. The alien in a ScarJo suit is harvesting men for what looks like food, and she is putting on a performance as a woman. She only has a set number of phrases she uses ("Where are you from? Do you like me?"), and her alluring beauty is literally a costume. The camera work is stunning; director Jonathan Glazer melds beauty and terror in the conception of the alien and how it experiences Earth and her people. I'm surprised this hasn't been released by Criterion. It seems very much in their lane.

The director's name sounded familiar and I remembered I had a DVD of his music videos. You can see the same quiet directorial style in his video for Radiohead's "Karma Police."

Last edited by Gobear; 10-25-20 at 01:18 AM.
Old 10-25-20, 12:00 AM
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Re: "Under the Skin" Reviews/Discussion - 2020 Horror Challenge

My second watch. I love this film. The "alien pool" stuff is so realistic and disturbing. Just a total mind fuck. Great production values. 8/10 for me.
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Old 10-25-20, 03:15 AM
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Re: "Under the Skin" Reviews/Discussion - 2020 Horror Challenge

Great film. I'd seen it before and as cryptic as it is I usually just enjoy it as a mood piece. There's no reason the naked horny men would need to be swallowed in a black pool that drinks them up but it sure does look cool and the in your face sexuality of it is so explicts it feels like it's challenging our own sexuality. Adam Pearson, the disfigured man, was inspired casting and even if he doesn't end up much different than the other men his appearance feels like it's making a statement (but I'm not sure there's a thesis so much as direct visuals of vulnerable men). I don't know that I ever saw Scarlet Johansen as an alien so much as just a void - a vapid emptiness that consumes men.

I think it's interesting that many of the male 'victims' are captivated by Johansson leering at her and being lured into her cavernous body (?), beconing to her will... but at the end a rapist is assaulting her and it feels like such a different encounter. If we interpret Johansson as a fiend then that would seem to make the arsonist rapist the hero. It's possible that rather than reveal what Johansson really was the attack transformed her into something she was not before (now vulnerable herself; turning her more surface level than deep).

I'm not quite sure what to make of it but the couple that drowned at the beach leaving behind a baby seems like it mirrors what happens to many of the men Johansson meets (the drowning bit) but in a more literal way.

Johansson is a specimen, but I appreciate that here she is not a toned 'Black Widow' but a (relatively) plump natural seeming woman - which might fit any themes of dispelling pretenses and honest intimacy.

Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-25-20 at 03:25 AM.
Old 10-25-20, 06:00 PM
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Re: "Under the Skin" Reviews/Discussion - 2020 Horror Challenge

Under the skin is a movie that hypnotizes with its cinematography, surreal images, and soundtrack (which revolves around a repeating percussive sound). There isn't a whole lot of dialogue in this movie which I think also adds to the hypnotism of it.

The first time I saw Under the Skin, I was drawn in from the opening scene where Scarlett Johansson's character is preparing to start her "killing spree", practicing pronunciation of a new alien language she's never encountered before. When the movie was first released, I remember a synopsis saying the movie was about an alien seducing men who were to be used as a food source. That has always made sense to me and seems like a good reason why these men are being brought back to the black liquid for their bodies to be broken down in.

The one scene that always gets to me is when the baby is alone at the beach crying, like others have mentioned. That's one of the most disturbing scenes I've encountered in a movie.

It's interesting to note that other than the men she picks up and brings back to the liquid, the encounters she has with the rest of the guys on the street when she's driving, were real and not planned. Jonathan Glazer wanted the movie to have a realistic feel to it, so hidden cameras were used to film these scenes and the men were told afterwards and had to give permission for the scenes to be used in the movie.

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