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Under The Skin

A few months back, I wrote a bit about the resurgence of art-house sci-fi and horror while reviewing Here Comes The Devil. Today we dive back in, head first, with Under The Skin.

From my (admittedly) limited internet research, I gathered that this movie is (loosely) based on a book, which I find interesting - by "loosely" I can only imagine they mean that the two share a name because there is nothing about this movie that lends itself to readability. And I say that having read some esoteric sci-fi novels in my day.

To be a bit flippant here - I wrestled with this movie not being French; NO ONE makes a slow, enigmatic, bizarre, incomprehensible art film like the French.

I'd love to segue into the plot from here however, there isn't so much a "plot" to this movie as there are a collection of images, scenes, and character interactions.

A man on a motorcycle goes into the woods and comes out carrying the body of a woman. Cut to an all white room. The woman lies (seemingly) dead on the floor while another woman (her twin?) undresses her. Putting on the dead woman's clothes, the second woman leaves. She drives around Scotland in a van, luring men home with her. In an endless hallway that is all black and mirrored, she strips - leading these men deeper into her lair. They follow, naked, (expect full-frontal with erections and all) but never make it to her - instead, they disappear into the inky black liquid floor of the hallway. The man on the motorcycle cleans out their homes.

Her undoing, as is all of ours, are her "human emotions." She allows one man to escape the hallway of death. It leaves her disoriented and wandering aimlessly around the countryside where she meets a nice man who takes her home and tenderly cares for her. Too bad that when they try to have sex he discovers that her vagina isn't what one would expect. She runs out into the forest to escape the painful truth: human emotions don't work for alien beings with non-functional genitalia.

Now lost in the forest, a logger tries to rape her (with no luck - which is - I suppose - lucky for her.) When he discovers she is inhuman - he kills her - as you do in this kind of situation.

If you're looking for answers (Where did she come from? Why is she here? What's with the house that eats men? Who is the man on the motorcycle?) you'll get none. If there is no other point to art films it is this: use provocative imagery to ask questions that make audiences think. Love 'em or hate 'em - these films were quite literally designed to stimulate your brain.

My biggest gripe with film audiences (and critics) is that they call any art movie a "great movie." Just because I had to fight my way through the entire movie, struggling to make sense of each word and every flash of light DOESN'T MEAN IT WAS GREAT - or even GOOD for that matter.

With that said - I can find no reason why Under the Skin maintains such high ratings around the internet. Utterly mystifying.

Their biggest score was casting Scarlett Johansson in the EXACT PERFECT ROLE for her acting style; if you need a broad to stare blankly, look vaguely distressed and completely confused, breathily exhale a couple of lines, all while wearing tight clothing that reveals her rather curvy figure - you will find NO ONE BETTER in Hollywood than Scarlett Jo.

And, if you were feeling like your life was incomplete because you'd never seen Scarlett Jo naked - you can invest the nearly 2 hours into Under The Skin to rectify that situation. Just keep your erection safely planted on the couch, lest you become the next of her victims.

You can watch the Under the Skin trailer here:

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