In Their Skin (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 18-Apr-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Interviews-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Accent releases x 4
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 92:31
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jeremy Power Regimbal
Studio
Distributor
Accent Film Entertainment Starring Selma Blair
Joshua Close
James D'Arcy
Rachel Miner
Quinn Lord
Alex Ferris
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Keith Power


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

“We Want This”

     After the accidental death of their daughter, wealthy couple Mark and Mary Hughes (Josh Close, Selma Blair) drive to their cottage in the woods with their eight year old son Brendon (Quinn Lord) to try to recover and to rebuild their fractured relationship. Very early on the first morning they are awakened by their neighbours Bobby and Jane Sakowski (James D’Arcy, Rachel Miner and their nine year old son Jared (Alex Ferris) delivering some firewood as a welcome. The Sakowski’s are pushy and a bit strange but Mark reluctantly invites them to lunch later that day.

     When the Sakowski’s return that afternoon there is something unsettling about them and they are very inquisitive about the life led by the Hughes family to the point of rudeness. Bobby, especially, is in turns ingratiating, sinister and aggressive, and after an incident between Brendon and Jared turns nasty the visit is terminated. But in the darkness the Sakowski’s return and take the Hughes family captive. It seems that the Sakowski’s have been learning all about the Hughes’ so that they can get into their skin: to take over their lives and to be them. Mark and Mary must use all their wits to protect their son and to preserve their very existence.

     In Their Skin is a tense and unsettling film. It starts with a chilling sequence: a half dressed man is staggering across a bridge, caught in the headlights of a car. He is seen from the POV inside the car and the only sound is the car radio. A man steps out of the car into the headlights with a shotgun. He walks over the man on the bridge, who has fallen to his knees, and we hear a shot as the screen goes blank. After this opening we meet the Hughes family as they drive through a bleak winter landscape, with snow of the hills, a dark brooding forest, a grey sky and a grey body of water. The atmosphere created is one of tension, both within the family and outside the car in the dark landscape.

     The tension in the film is never relaxed for the family quickly meet the Sakowski’s and their creepy game commences. This brooding and unsettling atmosphere is aided by an ominous sound design, full of dripping water and atonal music, and a mesmerising, disquieting performance by James D’Arcy: his Bobby, at least for the first half of the film, is always slightly off-kilter and menacing rather than outright deranged so we are never too sure where he is headed. In addition, Selma Blair is also very good as the mother, more troubled by the loss of her daughter than is apparent. Perhaps what does sometimes undermine the film’s tension is the camera work; it utilises frequent and obvious tricks, such as a waving camera, soft focus, fade-aways from the events and a screen going to blank, that become distracting and take the viewer away from the plot.

     Overall, however, In Their Skin is a psychological thriller that for over half the film builds an unsettling, creepy atmosphere that works very well. The second half of the film, when the intentions of the protagonists are revealed, becomes a bit more predictable and, while the film remains tense, the ending feels very quick, as if the script has been suddenly truncated. Nevertheless, with good acting rather than gore or horror effects, and an interesting script, In Their Skin delivers on the interest and tension quotas and is well worth a look.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    In Their Skin is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original ratio, in 1080i using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The print is nicely sharp with good detail. This is a film without any bright colours which reflects the Canadian winter landscape and the minds of the characters. There are no bright colours in the clothes, the car is grey, the house interiors are light but also in muted colours. The print has been manipulated to take out colour which results in a contrast on the light side, a silvery sheen and light skin tones. There is some slight aliasing and ghosting with movement against a mottled background, such as bare branches, but marks are absent. This is a 1080i print and there are a lot of dimly lit scenes, but I am very pleased to report that digital noise, which might have been a problem, is minimal. Blacks are good, as is shadow detail.

     As noted in the review, the film uses a variety of camera tricks that do become distracting.

     There are no subtitles.

     The print is 1080i but is very good, although I still could have done without some of the wavy camera.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The only audio choice is English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps. In other words, this Blu-ray does not have lossless audio.

     The dialogue is clear and understandable. The surrounds are well utilised with sound design effects such as dripping water and the music. Indeed, the music score by Keith Power is very good. While on occasion it does signal scares, it is generally low key and quite spooky, also using atonal sounds to increase the tension. The sub-woofer added bass to tense moments and gave appropriate support to the effects and music.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

     Despite the lack of a lossless audio track, this is a good enveloping audio track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Cast and Crew Interviews (13:51)

     This featurette is behind the scenes footage plus interviews with writer / actor Josh Close, actors Selma Blair, Rachel Miller, James D’Arcy, Quinn Lord, Alex Ferris, director Jeremy Power Regimbal, producers Justin Tyler Close, Tina Pehme and associate producers Tony Yacowar, Glenn Macrae, all in less than 14 minutes. It is pretty much an EPK and everything was great.

Trailers

     Trailers for You Can’t Kill Stephen King (2:24), In Their Skin (1:58), Noobz (1:30), The Wicked (2:07) and Hello I Must Be Going (2:18) can be selected from the menu. All but In Their Skin also play on start-up. They cannot be avoided by selecting the Blu-ray menu from the remote, but must be skipped.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     At present there seems to be only DVD releases of In Their Skin in both the US and UK. The Region 1 US DVD has only a trailer as an extra. So for Blu-ray our Australian release is a winner.

Summary

     In Their Skin is a tense psychological thriller that has an interesting script, good acting and an unsettling, creepy atmosphere that works very well.

     The video is 1080i, the audio is not lossless, but both are still very good. The one relevant extra is an EPK piece that is worth watching once.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, June 10, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
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