The Reflecting Skin (1990)

by Douglas Buck July 22, 2017 1 minute (240 words) DCP Hall Theater, Fantasia Film Festival

“Have you been exploding frogs again?”

Gorgeous, profoundly disturbing and even FAR better than I remember it being when I saw it on VHS many years ago (though that might have something to do with the accumulating deposits of sorrow that seem to build up with aging). Taking place in rural America in the 50’s, it’s a horror movie with humanity as the monster, about the terrible realities of the adult world wrapped in childhood fantasy.

The final incredibly bold image of a child feeling no other choice than to shriek (for what feels like endlessly) in utter despair across the vast, silent (yet so beautiful) fields in response to the horrors he has witnessed left the audience just about entirely dazed and dumb (revealing pretty starkly why this uncompromising film sadly had just about a zero chance of survival in the market place).

Glad to have shared a brew in a solemn, yet euphoric state post-screening (and post-child’s shriek) with a Fantasia friend afterwards, listening to him wax poetically on the film, crystalizing the notion of that terrible moment when innocence is lost forever.

It’s seriously profound filmmaking. A work of art, right up there now on my favorite films of all time. The opportunity to experience it on the big screen after all these years is just one more reason to be grateful for the over-20 year run so far of the Fantasia Film Festival.

_The Reflecting Skin_ (1990)

This review is archived under the “Buck a Review” column, written by Douglas Buck. Filmmaker. Full-time cinephile. Part-time electrical engineer. To read more of Buck’s smart and snappy reviews, click on the column sidebar link.

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