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Knives And Skin

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Arizona

Surreal forces lurk behind the fluorescent facade of an unassuming Midwestern town in writer/director Jennifer Reeder’s hyper-stylized Knives and Skin. Sophomore year of high school is upended when Carolyn Harper (Raven Whitley) suddenly vanishes after being abandoned at the lake by her jock boyfriend (Ty Olwin).
In the wake of Carolyn’s mysterious disappearance, a dark abyss widens among the inhabitants of Big River as the ripples of anxiety and mistrust begin to permeate through the high school halls and beyond. In a series of intertwined suburban vignettes, fear and loss cause the members of Carolyn’s inner-circle to develop unexpected and desperate coping strategies as they slowly begin to unravel under the impact of their grief and suspicions. Neon-drenched cinematography, moody synthesizers, and acapella renditions of 80s pop hits are the foundations of this feminist teen noir that evokes the surreal dreamscape of Twin Peaks and the mean-girl existential malaise of Heathers. In Reeder’s uncanny exploration of communal trauma, where young women have magic powers and disheveled clowns have the ability to reanimate corpses, small-town mentality is presented as something bordering on psychosis. (Dir. by Jennifer Reeder, 2019, USA, 111 mins., Not Rated)

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