undertheskinI got a chance to see Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin at Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema this weekend. It immediately reminded me of the type of creepy, low-budget classics I would have seen in Stan Brakhage’s film class back in my university days. By depending on a cinematic but unsettling tone, aided greatly by Mica Levi’s off-balance soundscape and minimal dialogue, Glazer is able to keep the audience engaged without relying on the technology or effects typically associated with a movie about an alien invasion. Scarlett Johansson works well as the alien seductress who becomes confused when she gains some semblance of empathy for her victims. Glazer’s use of non-actors and hidden cameras in several scenes also provides some very convincing results. This film isn’t for everyone. I imagine there will be a large number of viewers lured in by Scarlett’s appeal, not unlike the hapless Scottish punters, only to find themselves suddenly stuck in a dark, deadly jelly. Personally, I found the film’s minimal approach haunting and actually appreciated how much space was left open to interpretation. It’s not something I’ll soon forget.

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