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Under The Skin (2013)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Under The Skin (2013) A woman's body is brought by a man to a white, limbo-like place where another woman (Scarlett Johansson) undresses her and takes her clothes. Then, she drives a van around Scotland, offering lone men rides to their destination. It takes several stops before she selects the right guy. We think they are going to have sex--but she takes them to a limbo-like place that is completely black. She's naked and so is he--and as he approaches her he sinks into the black floor as if it's quicksand. Then, she goes to the beach and witnesses a guy trying to save another guy from drowning. But the guy ends up going back in the water, leaving the would be saviour exhausted and on the sand. She goes up to him and hits him in the head with a rock. She puts him in her van. There's also a one-year old baby screaming on the beach, which is left there, unattended. She pays no attention to him--and later that night we're shown that the kid is still there, screaming, as the tide comes in. Next, she goes to a party where she encounters one of the guys she picked up. They end up back at that mysterious black room, which seems to be another dimension, and the same thing happens to him. Only this time we see what happens to the man after he sinks into the floor. He can see the previous victim, still alive and dehydrated looking--until his insides are sucked out and nothing is left but his floating skin. Then, she picks up a guy with a horrible face deformity (like in MASK), who says he shops at night because of his appearance. She is oblivious to his deformity--and proceeds to ask him all the questions she had asked the other guys--if he had a girlfriend and when was the last time he had sex. Clearly he's never been with a woman. She starts making the moves on him and takes him to that other dimension and he sinks into the floor, like the others. But in the next scene we see him leaving, naked, running across the countryside. Did she let him go?

After this she abandons the van and wanders the land. It seems as if she's remembering to be human. A guy takes her in and she has sex, which clearly disturbs her. She takes off into the nearby woods, frightened, and takes cover in a stone cabin. It's there she's attacked by a truck driver who tries to rape her. Then, something reallly weird happens--and we see the true appearance of what she looks like under her human skin.

The first fifteen minutes of this movie are almost unbearably slow and seemingly disconnected--but it steadily intensifies. Nothing is ever explained--you have to piece everything together and think about what's happening as there's very little dialogue. It's both a pretentious art film and a truly disturbing horror movie and provokes the same feeling as the 1981 film, POSSESSION (Sam Neill, Isabelle Adjani). It's also a film that will stick with you. This is not a pleasant film but it is a very effective one. Recommended.

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