The Reel Review


Two young siblings, Kevin and Kaylee, wake up in the middle of the night to discover that their father is missing and that the windows and doors in their home have vanished. Trapped, they are consumed by paralyzing fear, in this sensory-driven, supernatural horror.

Lucas Paul in Skinamarink

Writer/director Kyle Edward Ball’s feature film debut is absolutely awful. It is less a movie –  intended more as eerie, experiential performance art, aimed at our visceral childhood fears of being left alone in the dark. Set in 1995 with a vintage, VHS analog vibe, the film has no real story – just minimal dialogue – often subtitled – and a lot of grainy, repetitive shots with unusual, disorienting camera angles.


Perhaps the promisingly trippy premise could have been an unsettling, 15-minute short, where darkness makes the mundane seem sinister, and where the viewer’s own senses make stationary shadows seem to come to life. Instead, Skinamarink is a punishingly tedious, nap-inducing hour and 40 minutes of ridiculousness. Interesting premise – abysmal execution.


• Kyle Edward Ball spent $15,000 (Canadian) to film Skinamarink at his childhood home in Edmonton, Alberta. To date, Skinamarink has grossed more than $1.8 million.

• “Skinnamarink” is a popular preschool sing-along song dating back to 1910, made popular by the Canadian children’s music group Sharon, Lois & Bram in 1978. Ball says he changed the spelling for his film so that children wouldn’t accidentally find his movie while searching online for the song.

• Clinical psychologists estimate roughly 11% of people have a deep fear of the dark.

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