Midnight Releasing’s ‘Evil Under the Skin’ (2020) Movie Review

I was given the opportunity to check out Midnight Releasing’s latest film, Evil Under the Skin. I went in expecting an isolation horror film, but I ended up getting something else entirely.

Evil Under the Skin is directed by Jeffrey Schneider (Burn Off 2015), is written by Luc Bernier (Type O Negative Man 2018 – read our review here), and stars Helen Udy (My Bloody Valentine 1981, The Dead Zone 1983) as Sophie, Angela Barajas (Apophis 2029 2021) as Roselee, Pamela Sutch (Trakked 2015) as Ranger Jenny Ross, and Carl Bailey (Pineville Heist 2016) as Sheriff Roy Keeps.

A mother and daughter, Sophie and Roselee, head off for a secluded weekend getaway at a cabin by a lake. What seems to be a great escape from the real world and its troubles ends up being a nightmare. Sophie starts experiencing migraines that just won’t go away, plus loss of memory, and weird, horrific visions that all seem to be tied to this house and the locked room upstairs. What secrets could be hidden behind that locked door?

As I stated above, I expected this to be an isolation horror film about a mother and daughter at a cabin by a lake. Well, I got that, but when the credits rolled, I was left feeling underwhelmed and scratching my head, trying to make sense of what exactly I had just watched.

I will start with what I thought of the story. Evil Under the Skin leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to plot. For one, the story is very slow and muddled. I had no idea what exactly was going on throughout almost the entire hour and thirty three minute runtime, and by the time the third act reached its conclusion, I was left feeling exhausted from trying to make sense of what was going on. There were also long scenes where nothing was happening that felt like the filmmakers were just trying to pad the runtime. The film also used a horror movie trope that I am so sick of seeing at the very end of the film that, to me, almost always comes off as lazy writing.

Next, I would like to talk about the acting in Evil Under the Skin, which was extremely painful, especially from the two leads. Udy and Barajas are supposed to be mother and daughter, but I felt absolutely zero chemistry between the two, and the dialogue was very awkward. It almost felt as if they were reading their lines without feeding off of each other’s emotions. Nothing in this film gives the impression that they were mother and daughter at all.

But they weren’t the only two that I had a problem with. The two cops, played by Sutch and Bailey, were also painful to watch, though they had their moments every so often. But once again, their dialogue just felt forced, and I had no reason to feel invested in their characters.

The only positive of Evil Under the Skin would be some of the lighting techniques. There is a certain scene—I am still unsure if it was a dream or reality— where the green and purple lighting made the film feel otherworldly. However, with that being said, I felt that the rest of the cinematography was marred by what almost appeared to be a sepia tone filter added over the top of it, and it just made the film look ugly.

There are just too many issues with Evil Under the Skin for me to actually recommend it. However, if you are a fan of low budget horror and want to support the indie scene, Evil Under the Skin is available on VOD on September 8, 2020. Just make sure you go in with your expectations in check, and maybe you will find something more redeemable in this than I did.

About Scott Crawford

I am an avid lover of horror films ever since I was a little boy. I have amassed a sizeable film collection in my life and it is one of my pride and joy. I also love video games and have been playing them since the days of the Intellivision. I currently play on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch and love all genres of games but mainly play single player story driven games mainly in the fantasy or horror genre. I also host a podcast called The Podcast by the Cemetery with two of my friends and we talk horror and video games.

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