Ball began filming user-submitted nightmares in short film form, and he claimed that many users had similar terror dreams where they were children between the ages of six and ten who woke up to find- their parents. no more … and that there is evil in the house. That’s the basic set-up for a not-so-basic movie described as such in most press releases: “Two kids wake up in the middle of the night to find their father gone, and all that windows and doors of their house are missing.” And that’s about it, but it’s also not. “Skinamarink” is an experiment in form and storytelling, pushing viewers to stop interpreting it and experience it instead.
To that end, Ball uses as many formal restrictions as a Dogme 95 filmmaker. He did not show his face to anyone. Most of the shots are barely lit hallways or ceilings (with the dark above being the size of the lights most of the time), made to look like they were shot on grainy film just lit on a television. placed in the other room. Human activity is reduced to the legs of a child moving through the frame or the restless back of a parent sitting on the edge of the bed in the dark. And these shots of the mundane home, filmed in Ball’s childhood home, are not artistically staged. It often feels like a camera left on the floor or a chair, pointed in a strange direction that hides as much as it reveals. Almost every shot seems to say something is wrong without revealing what that item is or the details of the threat. This is a dream logic of a child. At first, you’ll be tempted to figure out what’s in the dark or why Ball chose the particular angle of the ceiling light to look at. exact like the one in the room you’re in right now, but “Skinamarink” begins to break down the traditional questions that viewers ask while watching a movie. You just have to surrender.
This helped Ball develop his dream vision through confident sound design. There is no score to ease the tension and remind us that this is just a movie. The audio mix usually consists of music and sound bites from public-domain cartoons, the kind of weird stuff you see on TV at midnight. But the biggest draw to Ball’s sound design is in the dialogue, which is often off-camera and sometimes hard to hear. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and hearing a whisper coming from around the corner of the door. That’s “Skinamarink.” Excuse me, I need to turn on a few more lights in my house.
In theaters now.