“With his feature debut, Skinamarink, director Kyle Edward Ball plunges us into those endless childhood nights in his expressionistic and experimental horror vision. Two children wake up in the middle of the night to find their father is missing, and all windows and doors in their home have vanished. While they decide to wait for the grown-ups to return, they realize they’re not alone, and a voice that sounds like a child beckons them.
Do you remember waking up in the middle of the night as a child and hearing the crackling white noise of an old TV set? In Skinamarink, those memories become the backdrops of terrible imaginings and the landscape of increasingly disturbing incidents. While experimental in structure and aesthetics, Ball’s film never loses touch with its child protagonists. Their voices, distant—as if they were wading through water, ripple through the dark, textured space. Their perspective shapes the strange otherworldliness of the suburban home, collapsing time and space, as their vantage point reshapes the familiar into something frightening, as the house seems to shapeshift as the night deepens and the nightmare grows. The uniquely minimalist approach keeps most of the characters off-screen, their voices and sound carrying much of the action. The effect of focusing on the mundane, on ceiling lamps, doorways, and hallways, captures a deep sense of the uncanny as the ordinary becomes increasingly horrific. While by no means a traditional horror film, Skinamarink has a way of weaseling under your skin and bringing you back to the greatest fears of childhood. – Justine Smith, Fantasia International Film Festival