Knives and Skin (2019)

This is a world of ballgowns, sequins and lace…but none of that diminishes the ability of its heroes to think clearly or take charge of their own fates.

Whereas teenage girls are generally represented in film – even affectionately – as a source of chaos, in this disjointed world their wisdom and wit come to the fore. Christopher Rejano’s imagery is saturated with feminine colour, layers of pink and purple and cherry red. Though caught in that awkward space between overprotective parents and a frequently hostile world, they already have a clear sense of who they are. This is vital not only to their own stories but to a film that sometimes overdoes its quirkiness elsewhere.

Reeder’s characters have been compared to those of David Lynch; sometimes they more closely resemble the work of Wes Anderson, but it is possible to overdose on them, and the sheer number of oddities packed into this dreamlike tale may be too much for some viewers.

Deliberately avoiding the dramatic denouement that the genre usually dictates, Knives And Skin is one of the boldest selections at this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival. It teases with horror trappings but its core is human drama, the focus very much on life.

Jennie Kermode,

  • Orig. title:
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Distribution: WTFilms
  • Print source: WTFilms
  • Cinematography: Christopher Rejano
  • Editing: Mike Olenick
  • Music: Nick Zinner
  • Sound: Jason Culver
  • Production design: Adri Siriwatt