Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In Their Skin -- AKA Replica (2012)

Fear 3/5
Gore 2/5
Entertainment 4/5
Creepiness 5/5

In Their Skin is a taut home invasion thriller very reminiscent of the film Funny Games. But whereas Funny Games centers on two psychopathic and narcissistic teens, the focus on In Their Skin is on something altogether personal and just downright frightening. Even though the film suffers in parts due to some bad logic and a towards the end as it begins to lose some steam, it's still a terrifying and harrowing experience.

Our story focuses on a family of three: a husband, his wife and their young son. The family is grieving the loss of their young daughter and it's evident that they have been for quite some time now. Unable to shake their grieve, the bonds that hold a family together, are in serious need of repair. Especially between the husband and wife who are on the verge of throwing in the towel on their marriage for good.

Heeding the advice of a therapist, they make a trek out to a home they own in the woods, far away from the trappings of everyday life with the hope that bonds can be renewed and a marriage can be salvaged. Upon arrival, they try to settle in but not much time passes before the husband is greeted by a trio of family members similar in makeup to their own: a man, his wife, and their young son. General chit chat gives way to the family inviting themselves over for lunch much to the reluctant approval of a father who's hoping to spend some alone time with his own. And the fact that this family just happened to be lingering around their home should have set off an internal alarm.

But our intruding family comes over later that afternoon, and makes friends with the home owner's young son and wife (played by the always incredibly gorgeous Selma Blair).  The two families share lunch and then it's play time for the kiddos as they head upstairs and start playing video games. Things go from the general bullshit, getting to know you, types of questions to the borderline weird and way too personal. When the intruding family's son literally pulls a knife on their kid it goes from weird to now a threat on one of their lives.

So our grieving and hoping to make amends family asks the obviously batshit crazy one to leave and they oblige amidst profuse apologies. But that of course is not the last of them as they make their way back to the home later that night and hold the family hostage. And it's all downhill from here as the family that is keeping them hostage makes it clear that they want to physically be them. From forcing them to perform daily routines to perverse sexual acts to the crazed family literally copying their mannerisms, this is one fucked up and perverse trip.

The film falters a bit in the closing minutes as it doesn't quite pack the emotional wallop it should. And there are many instances where the family could have eluded their captors or had the opportunity to alert someone as to what was going on. But getting caught up in all that would detract from a truly terrifying experience. If you like home invasion thrillers, you won't find much better.

Cortez the Killer


RedRum said...

Totally agree with you, Cortez. The key is that there isn't a normal psychopath like Funny Games, is a poor family. Its very sad.

Planet of Terror said...

Indeed. The fact that it's a sorry and pitiful 'family' (and I use that term loosely), makes it all that more real and terrifying.