Jennifer Reeder // 2019 // USA // Drama, Teen Noir // 111 min // WTFilms
Cast: Kate Arrington, James Vincent Meredith, Marika Engelhardt, Audrey Francis, Ty Olwin, Tim Hopper
Language: English // Subtitles: No Subtitles // Out of competition
Something unheard of for the rural midwestern town of Middle River happens to high-school student Carolyn Harper (Raven Whitley) after going to a deserted lake with Andy (Ty Olwin). Dressed in her marching band uniform and with everything seemingly under control, Carolyn is mercilessly abandoned by the football jock as soon as he understands the sophomore isn’t going to hook up with him.
After Carolyn’s disappearance, her friends, her family, her neighbors, classmates … everyone who ever crossed paths with Carolyn, undergoes a profound reckoning which will take each and every one of them through the most unexpected paths. This feminist and hyper-stylized coming-of-age teen noir mainly follows the coping strategies of Carolyn’s friends and the struggling adults in their lives.
Through infallibly melancholic and exquisite musical scenes where the girls sing 80s pop tunes, reminding us of past teen movies and older generations, Reeder synchronizes the girls’ universes and helps them create a stronger bond. Through this means, she also helps audiences sink deeper into the film’s neon-filled atmosphere while calling to mind the idea of innocence-lost.
Knives and Skin and its most surreal spirit takes us back to David Lynch and the deliciously disturbing world of Twin Peaks while representing classic American teen-angst found in the likes of 80s classic Heathers or contemporary tv-shows such as Riverdale.
If you are looking to be hypnotized and captivated in the screening room, this dark yet luminous and refreshing teen drama full of magic and horror is your definite answer.
See you in the cinema!
Text: Joana Gil-Rico