The Reflecting Skin


The Reflecting Skin

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 13


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,638
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Movie Info

Set in a 1950s-era American heartland of sprawling wheat fields and lonely old houses, The Reflecting Skin is British director Philip Ridley's fascinating and very strange investigation into the horrors of childhood innocence and fantasy. The film's mixture of gruesome subject matter, morbid sexual perversion, and disarming humor has spawned comparisons to the work of David Lynch, particularly Blue Velvet and the Twin Peaks series. Young Seth Dove (Jeremy Cooper) lives with his mother and father in a ramshackle farmhouse that also serves as the local gas station. After reading one of his father's pulp horror magazines, Seth convinces himself that Dolphin Blue (Lindsay Duncan), the attractive widow who lives nearby, is a vampire. When Seth's friend Eben is found dead (and sexually abused) in the family cistern, Seth is sure that Dolphin is to blame. The authorities, however, point to Seth's father, whose secret homosexuality -- and past affair with a young boy -- is a skeleton in the town's closet. Seth's father refuses to have the affair dragged into public view, and so he burns himself alive at the family gas pump, prompting Seth's older brother Cameron (Viggo Mortensen) to return home from a military tour. Cameron falls for Dolphin, and at the same time he becomes weak and begins losing hair. Seth takes this as a sign that Cameron is being drained of vitality by Dolphin, although it is suggested that his sickness is in fact due to overseeing A-bomb tests while on a ship in the South Pacific. Meanwhile, a roving gang prowls the country roads in a sleek, black Cadillac, and more children are found dead. It is not surprising that writer/director Philip Ridley has also published books for children, since watching The Reflecting Skin is a lot like reading a young adult novel, albeit a horrific one. Presented from a child's strangely warped point-of-view, this film should be appreciated by anyone looking for films far outside the mainstream.

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Critic Reviews for The Reflecting Skin

All Critics (13)

Audience Reviews for The Reflecting Skin

  • Apr 16, 2014
    I wish somebody could explain to me what I just watched.I have NO idea what this movie was suppose to be about.The only thing I know is that this movie was WEIRD!!! Every single person in The Reflecting Skin seemed to have mental problems or some issues they were dealing with.If you like WEIRD movies then this is the movie for you.I only watched The Reflecting Skin because it was listed under Horror.I don't know what type this movie should be listed under but it should not be Horror.There was nothing scary or horrifying about it.It was just...... WEIRD!!!
    Brody M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 20, 2010
    An intresting film about the "nightmare of childhood." I could see a lot of people complaining about the seemingly random and creepy events of the film, but I think they are missing the point. The movie is shown through the eyes of a 9 year old boy who is going through several traumatizing expierences and nobody who he looks up to is able to explain what is going on in his life, so he is forced to create his own answers for why these things are happening to him. The film will leave you as confused as the boy is, but that is the point. Either way an excellent directorial debut from British playwright Phillip Ridley and several good performances from the actors (most notably a young Viggo Mortenson.) Recommended for fans of the bizarre,
    Ed Fucking H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 23, 2009
    A little boy in rural post-WWII America believes that his lonely widow neighbor is a vampire who is killing his friends and wants to kill his beloved older brother. A literary and ambiguous slice of Midwestern Gothic that teems with unresolved metaphors.
    Greg S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 28, 2009
    An odd and disturbing, surreal Aussiie film which incorporates several creepy themes into its plot. Very high production values. Fans of the film Powder should enjoy the sinister and quirky storyline.
    Pamela D Super Reviewer

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