Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Home Invasion Thriller

In Their Skin released on DVD

By David Luhrssen
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 Mary (Selma Blair) stares sullenly out the window as her husband Mark (Joshua Close) talks to the office on his mobile as he drives on to their magnificent vacation "cottage" in a remote, forested area. Their eight-year old, Brendan, seems remarkably oblivious to the tension between his parents. Emotions are fraught in this upper-class household and intimacy thwarted. A tragedy has just occurred, their daughter died in an accident, and the family vacation is meant as therapy.

But therapy might be necessary by the end of their get-away. In Their Skin (out on DVD) is a squirmy house invasion movie, a genre—if it can be so called—that has flourished on the margins with such recent examples as Peter Haneke's Funny Games and Martin Donovan’s Collaborator. Psychological and social tensions are confined within the pressure cooker of four walls. It's ideal theater.

In an interesting twist, the home invaders of In Their Skin are a mirror image of Mary, Mark and Brandon—a husband, wife and their boy (neighbors they claim) that invite themselves to dinner. They are lower class—subtly at first—and social awkwardness soon gives way to violence and madness. The bad twins at the dinner table are the dispossessed, driven by envy of what they assume are the perfect lives of the affluent.

As is often the case, the nemeses are given the more memorable performances, with James D'Arcy and Rachel Miner as the husband and wife that want to live inside Mary and Mark's skin.

 

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