Robert Munro

author • photographer • raconteur

Robert Munro

author • photographer • raconteur

Under the Skin

The horror of it!

I have just stopped watching Under the Skin, the film starring Scarlett Johansson. I say stopped as I think for the first time ever I actually had to stop watching a film through sheer disturbance. It really was a very odd feeling.

No spoilers here (hell I only got about 20 minutes in), but there is a scene involving a baby on a beach that I just couldn’t watch. It is brilliantly shot and has absolutely no graphic horror factor but the pure psychological effect on me was so overwhelmingly strong that I actually had to reach for the stop button in some pain.

This phenomenon may be unique to people like me – I’m a dad with a not yet self-sufficient toddler and I am also especially rubbish at swimming. If you have seen the film I think you will know the scene I mean. It was the bit where the biker picked up the towel on the beach with the child.

Under the skin
The beach scene in Under the Skin

For just a moment I put myself in that scene. Almost an empathy effect. Imagined my own child in that situation. It just completely freaked me out.

Actually quite good

Now I don’t really want to criticise the film in any way here. The opening was brilliant and with my local knowledge the initial scenes in the van in Glasgow were jaw dropping. Was just getting right in to it.

Then I had the ultimate brain meltdown.

I can’t honestly say that many pieces of art are capable of doing that to a person. The ability for an artist to simply reach out and tweak the brain of their viewer is a difficult trick to achieve, even if it does bring some discomfort to a softie like me. I have certainly never had such a strong effect with a film before.

Will I go back and have another go? I certainly think it is a film that deserves it. Not quite sure that I have the bottle. Should probably spend the time with my kids instead.