Skinamarink is the little indie horror film that could. Its experimental nature has proved to be profitable at the box office, thanks in no small part to its shoestring budget and going viral online. The movie is now streaming on Hulu and available to rent or buy digitally but is it worth your time? Is the film really as scary as people say it is or is the hype overblown?

The movie centers on two children, Kevin and Kaylee, who wake up in the middle of the night with their father missing. Strange stuff starts to happen, like the toilet disappearing before their eyes. The windows and doors of the home have also vanished. To cope with the baffling situation, the kids put on cartoons from a well-worn videotape hoping a grown-up will come to rescue them. However, it soon becomes clear a hostile entity is also in the house.

I recently watched Skinamarink on Hulu after hearing a lot of buzz about it from my own social circle. Though the film is listed as Not Rated, a friend of mine described it as the scariest PG-level movie he’d seen. I was intrigued and walked away glad I saw it, though the experience wasn’t what I expected.

Before I divulge just how scary I thought Skinamarink was, I must explain my scariness scale. You see, with scariness being a subjective value, I have decided that rating a film’s level of scariness on a 1-5 basis would be appropriate, per below:

  1. Not scary at all
  2. A little bit scary
  3. Very scary
  4. “I’m about to poop my pants in fright”
  5. “Not only do I need new trousers, I need a therapist”

Will Skinamarink leave you speechless or just bored?

Image via Shudder

The biggest thing about Skinamarink that no one tells you beforehand is just how strange of an experience it really is. Most of the film consists of shots of ceilings, walls, and close-ups of Legos on the ground, all bathed in the flickering glow of a TV displaying cartoons. You hardly ever even see Kevin and Kaylee. Occasionally, an inanimate object will pop out of the frame, with the disembodied voice of the children reacting. Some kind of demonic entity becomes part of the plot, but we never see him, only hearing his chilling distorted voice.

Because of its experimental nature it often feels more like an aesthetic-based art project than a true narrative like the creepypasta The Backrooms, I give Skinamarink a scariness rating of 2 – A little bit scary.

If you’re open-minded, Skinamarink is worth your time should you come across it on streaming. However, it’s good to remember that the movie is not for everyone and there’s a good chance you’ll hate it. It lacks traditional jump scares and never even shows the antagonistic entity, as a mainstream horror film would. However, Skinamarink does deserve praise for tapping into the feeling of the netherworld between the dreaming world and the awake world.

You may be sucked back into your childhood just by watching Skinamarink, when the shadowy corners of your home in the early hours of the morning held a particular kind of creepiness. Personally, it reminds me of a recurring nightmare I had as a kid where I woke up in the wee hours of the morning, only to discover downstairs my entire family was either dead or just missing entirely.

In fact, I would say “creepy” is a much better word to describe this movie than truly scary. Skinamarink‘s grainy footage that looks like video taken from a super-8 camera at times does have some chilling moments, including at least one jump scare. But it’s more imaginative than anything else, letting what isn’t seen on screen do most of the leg work.

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