Monday, February 3, 2014

IN MY SKIN (2002)


  Most great horror films play with existential and deeply intrinsic suppositions on mordant topics such as madness, death, loss, and isolation.  Many bad horror films also make such attempts only to end up cheapening the result, the process, and genre alike.  Then every once in a while a film forces it's way into the public peripheral unannounced and unceremoniously wraps itself around your brain like a flaming car wreck around a telephone pole.  In My Skin is a rare prime example of true horror, the kind that's eerily down-to-earth, possibly semi-autobiographical, the kind you wish you never saw but can't seem to take your eyes off of all the same. 

  The plot concerns a young French office worker named Esther who lives a very ordinary quiet life.  One night on her way to a social gathering, she accidentally walks by a construction site in the dark and cuts her leg deeply on a piece of scrap metal.  She barely notices it and goes to the party dripping a trail of blood behind her.  When she finally goes to the bathroom to acknowledge her laceration she discovers that feels no pain and finds out that she even feels slightly relieved and a little more than obsessed with her newly acquired flesh wound.  Her boyfriend finds her new obsession to be very off-putting and feels Esther gradually pulling away in their relationship becoming ever distant and cold with each passing day.  Esther spends her days at work and at home probing, reopening, and ultimately exacerbating her scabs and cuts, keeping pieces of herself as macabre mementos.  Her old injuries are not enough to satiate her and she begins making new ones in any way that she can including staging an auto accident to use as an alibi for her newly self-inflicted wounds.  Esther mentally and physically unravels further and further into a downward spiral and yet seems to be on the threshold of nirvana as she self-mutilates as her boyfriend and co-workers try in vain to reach her. 

  In My Skin fully encapsulates the mood and visceral essence of body horror films without any romance or comedy relief much like the early works of David Cronenberg.  Everything in this film is played 100% serious with zero tolerance for the squeamish so it may not be everyone's cup of tea.  But if you like your juice with pulp, your coffee black and your horror strong In My Skin will most definitely leave a nasty mark. 


There is nothing fun about IN MY SKIN


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