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Scarlett Johansson stars in Under the Skin; a low-budget sci-fi thriller that packs a big punch. Its intense and disturbing nature never wears off, and will leave you holding your breath the entire time. The movie is constantly engulfed in surrealism, and Johansson shows us just how terrifying and brooding she can be. Bleak but beautiful shots are paired with interesting direction and pacing in a terrifying and arousing story.
Under the Skin stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien who takes the form of a human female’s body. She travels Scotland in a van, attempting to seduce men into dark places. Once she has sensually lured her prey, they are consumed by a liquid matter and their skin is harvested. Along the way, she begins to discover more and more about the body she has taken on, and realizes she may not be the most dangerous thing in the world.
Director Jonathan Glazer brings us this mysterious film, based on a novel of the same name. Throughout the movie you’re faced with a back-and-forth game of real vs. surreal, and at times it’s hard to decipher which one is which. The concept of a human predator seducing and murdering others feels all too real, but add the fact it’s some sort of sci-fi sub-genre and you start to get even more freaked out.
The cast, aside from Johansson, is filled with relatively unknown actors, shot in Scotland. At times Under the Skin can feel very close to a found-footage movie, but it isn’t by any means. That’s just how real some of the conversations between ScarJo and her victims can seem. Her character is completely emotionless (except when she’s trying to use her charm), appearing as some sort of android; which ultimately makes her seem that much more disturbing. But my god, is she sexy in this movie, and uses it to her advantage when trying to play off two seemingly different motives.
Most of the film is very quiet, with a composed soundtrack by English musician Micachu. The music is insanely eery, and I can best describe it as something out of a 60’s or 70’s sci-fi (think Close Encounters, but much more experimental). The scarce amount of dialogue and sound add to the intensity.
Verdict: Under the Skin is a disturbing indie flick that proves once again that Scarlett Johansson can dominate in a lead role. Intense themes, beautiful shots and a borderline of real and surreal (not to mention ScarJo) will keep your eyes glued to the screen.
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5
– Josh Sazin, 7/8/14