The Skin I Live In – Review

10 Jul

Horror movies come in many shapes and sizes. There’s the slasher sub genre, the monster sub genre, and the mad scientist/doctor sub genre, which The Skin I Live In falls into. Hearkening back to some classics, such as Eyes Without a Face, this film pushes the limits of our abilities to understand motives, scientific progress, and revenge.

Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) is a plastic surgeon who has created a synthetic skin that can withstand more damage than our natural skin. His guinea pig: a beautiful woman named Vera (Elena Anaya) whom he keeps locked in a room in his mansion, but is given anything she wants. This is not the only secret that the doctor is keeping, however, and the results of the truth being revealed could be devastating.

This is a very hard movie to write a synopsis for, because there are so many plot points, changes, and twists that happen in this film. This isn’t a straightforward narrative with a set time line and typical characters. The Skin I Live In is actually a pretty difficult movie to get through because of how twisted it is, but if you’re able to push through all of the changes and bizarre happenings, then this is a movie that will not be easily forgotten.

The effectiveness of this film’s plot is truly outstanding and superbly written, characterized, and paced. At the beginning of the film, I was a quite nervous because I had no idea where anything was going. I didn’t know who people were, what they were doing, nor to what cause. I didn’t like it one bit, but then the movie progressed further and proved to me that I am a very impatient person. Despite my initial hatred of the beginning, after seeing the rest of the story pan out, it make perfect sense that it would start where it did.

The audience is also treated to a feast of colors and gorgeous cinematography. The colors and set design of Ledgard’s mansion is fascinating with portraits, pieces of modern art, and a giant television that monitors Vera’s every move. The cinematography also lends a lot to the story being a perfect combination of frighteningly dark and misleadingly light, which this movie is: frighting and misleading.

As I said before, the tone of this movie can be related to classic horror films, especially the old Val Lewton movies and some foreign horror films like the aforementioned Eyes Without a Face. The only difference is The Skin I Live In goes way beyond all of those movies combined (even though Eyes Without a Face is definitely cringe worthy). The story of this movie will not only leave you wondering how your jaw dropped all the way to the floor, but also how a human being could possibly do the actions done in this film.

This is not a brutal film or a loud film. You won’t jump or scream. Instead, The Skin I Live In invades a deep, unexplored pit that is present in your brain and plants itself with no intention of leaving. You will be shocked, horrified, and you might even laugh at the film’s occasional dark humor. All I know is that this film is a remarkable piece of art house horror, and not one that should be missed.


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