Redeeming Quality

While we’re on the topic of shrouding cinematography in obscuring darkness:

It’s been an old trick of horror movies for ages. Given their shadowy aesthetics — haunted houses could always stand to ramp up their electricity bills, you know? — horror movies obstruct the audience’s eyesight to make us fear what’s lurking where the light does not touch.

And there ain’t many lights in the new movie Skinamarink, which utilizes its primarily black tableaus — a majority of the screen is black space, for a majority of the runtime — to milk dread through…deceptive means.

Due to its lo-fi, low-resolution imagery, each and every shot is inundated with static noise, a nonstop dance of blotchy dots and spots, like ever-mutating pointillism. When ghoulish spirits begin to terrorize the central family, the relatively-still cinematography lingers over the darkest corners of their home. As we try to detect wtf we’re looking at — … if anything …? — the shadows dominating the frame pulsate with the constant movement of the swarming static.

This static starts to evoke random(?) shapes that might resemble orb-composed entities…maybe? Are we glimpsing the first hints of amorphous creatures hidden in the shadows, about to jump-scare us into demonic oblivion?? Or are our pupils making something — some thing???— out of nothing, a mere optical illusion?

Even if the visual presence of this static doesn’t always turn out to represent a tangible presence from the great beyond on screen, it’s still a looming presence throughout, messing with the audience’s sense of perception.

And the question can be asked: is the lens merely relaying the horror in front of it, or is the device itself haunted? Do the characters see the horror with their own eyes, or is only the camera capable of visualizing the haunting spirits?

It’s as if the very fabric of the movie is haunted; the house is so haunted, the haunting infects even the footage itself, infesting it with traces of the horror.

In other words:

The horror is coming from inside the camera?

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