Jeremy Power Regimbal’s In Their Skin is a decent home invasion film that lacks the panache of Michel Haneke’s Funny Games or the creepiness of Bustillo and Maury’s À l’intérieur (Inside). After the tragic events of losing their daughter, Mark (Joshua Close) and Mary (Selma Blair) Hughes, along with their son Brendon (Quinn Lord) plan a small vacation at a cottage that they own. They’re interrupted by Bobbi Sakowski (James D’Arcy), his wife Jane (Rachel Miner) and their son Jared (Alex Ferris), neighbors that have recently moved into the area. After an awkward first meeting, Mark decides to invite them over for dinner to settle things and get to know his new neighbors a bit. In the midst of dinner, the Sakowski’s begin to act even weirder than before and Mark asks them to leave. When Bobbi tells them that they’re not going anywhere, a dangerous power struggle emerges as the Hughes’ fight for their own survival in their own home. While the cast is top notch and contains a few decent moments of tension and suspense, In Their Skin doesn’t do enough to set itself apart from other films in the genre.
My biggest issue with the film is that it never lets the atmosphere or tension heighten enough to be truly terrifying. In the first scene, where Selma Blair is looking for Brendon, after hes run off while they’re at a gas station, there’s a moment where she calls out and she feels like she’s being watched. It was only in this instant that I felt gratified in the fears that her character had, being truly vulnerable in the midst of this wilderness. Unfortunately, the film relies more on the general creepiness of the Sakowski family and how they effect the Hughes’ on vacation. The entire cast does a solid job in the film, especially James D’Arcy and Rachel Miner as the crazy couple. If there was anything else that helps the film, aside from its actors, is its visual style and color palette. The muted tones and sense of framing help convince and showcase the inner turmoil that the Hughes’ are going through, as well as the external forces of the Sakowski’s that have invaded their space.
While its not absolutely terrible, In Their Skin is a middle of the road affair of a thriller that gets some things right and some wrong. I would hope that in the future, Regimbal decides to let things sink in a bit more, in order for us to feel as helpless as his characters.