Skinamarink’s creepy antagonist is a mysterious voice that haunts the children in the movie, but the voice could represent something much darker.
Content Warning: This article discusses child abuse.
The main antagonist of Skinamarink is a voice that speaks to the two children at the center of the story, but the voice’s identity could be much darker than many realize. The movie quickly establishes that its child protagonists, Kevin and Kaylee, are trapped inside their house at night and can’t find their parents, before introducing the voice later. The voice speaks to the children in a way that creates an even creepier atmosphere than the movie has already established, and serves to enhance the horror of the film.
Skinamarink being a low-budget indie film also contributes to how director Kyle Edward Ball uses his resources, serving to perhaps explain why a voice is used for the villain of the movie. After all, the theatrical release only came after Skinamarink‘s viral success on the internet. Because of this, the movie focuses a lot on dark shots of a home that keep the audience guessing about what lurks in the darkness. The voice that speaks to the children is what’s lurking, but it’s seemingly not just any voice causing the children harm – which may further explain this villain choice.
Skinamarink’s Mysterious Voice Could Represent The Parents & Child Abuse
Skinamarink doesn’t give the audience many answers, but one interpretation of the mysterious voice is that it is representative of the missing parents. The voice acts in ways that emulate abusive parents, and may well serve as a stand-in for the missing parents. The kids are told what to do, and if they don’t do it, they are harmed. The most horrific example of the abuse is when the voice tells Kaylee to stab herself in the eye, followed by a shot of blood appearing on a wall. The voice ensures the children that if they disobey, harm will be done to them anyway, such as an abusive parent might.
Skinamarink‘s voice is an effective horror movie villain because of how it captures the horrors of child abuse. The children don’t feel comfortable in their own home, knowing it is around and could seek to distress or harm them at any time. They play and watch television to try to distract themselves from their reality. The story is told from their perspective, and when viewed as a story of child abuse from the perspective of the children trying to escape it, the movie becomes far more unsettling and sad.
The Voice Is Not The Only Hint That Skinamarink Is About Child Abuse
It’s even more devastating when attention is paid to the other parts of Skinamarink that hint it is about child abuse. One way the film suggests that the children aren’t safe in their own home is by having the doors and windows disappear, as well as objects like the toilet. It feels comedic within the moment, but the imagery Kyle Edward Ball uses in the surreal horror movie has a darker purpose.
These scenes suggest that despite this house being their home, they find it alien to them, as the house in which they are abused is not a real home due to the ordeals they’ve experience there. Not only that, but this can be seen to represent how trapped they are in their situation, much like when Kevin makes a 9-1-1 call that amounts to nothing. While abstract moments, these scenes do reflect how frequently real-life victims of child abuse are left to fend for themselves, even by institutions that should be able to provide them some protection or safety.
Whether it is the voice or other hints that suggest Skinamarink is possibly about child abuse, that interpretation of the film makes it a much more difficult and more horrifying horror movie to watch, with a lasting impact. It makes it more than just a slow-burn movie where not much happens, but instead one that presents one of the most awful things a person can experience. It’s yet to be seen if Skinamarink will earn a spot as one of 2023’s best horror movies, but it’s possible that it could be the most unique, especially in terms of its abstract exploration of such a dark topic.
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