“In Their Skin” is a slow and unoriginal home invasion horror that boasts a very talented cast, given sadly little to chew on.
A family, dealing with tragedy, escapes to a vacation house to reconnect but finds someone else wants their happiness more than they do. Let’s dig into 2012’s IN THEIR SKIN, directed by Jeremy Power Regimbal!
As I See It
In Their Skin is a home invasion horror that flew under the radar when it was released in 2012 and got US distribution from IFC.
It’s plodding and relies heavily on two elements to create tension. One is the threat of killing the victim couple’s son, and the other is sexual abuse. Other than that, there is no other dirty work done to make it an interesting story.
I take umbrage with the title since it hints at some supernatural element or at least some body horror. There is none of that. The alternate title, Replicas, is more fitting but still a misnomer. The whole film, I kept thinking “The Wannabes”, even though that sounds like the lamest title ever.
In a tragic example of irony, both actors, Rachel Miner (2010) and Selma Blair (2018), were diagnosed with MS.
Selma Blair is a good actor. I would even offer a VERY good actor. That said, she probably didn’t need to be in this film. Not that she wasn’t good, it was just superfluous to call in a ringer like that for a role that didn’t need it.
I’m not sure how James D’Arcy (Bob) looks like an aged Ralph Fiennes and a chav at the same time, but he’s frustrating as hell in this film. Maybe that means he did a good job, but the story relies so much on his character’s awkward manner it leaves little room to be clever.
At least they had the decency to kill the dog off-screen.
Selma Blair (Mary) has been in some of the biggest Rom-Coms of all time, including Legally Blonde and a guilty pleasure of mine, The Sweetest Thing. Genre-wise, she’s hit some home runs with Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy films.
James D’Arcy (Bobby) played Psycho star Anthony Perkins in the Hitchcock biopic, was in Christopher Nolan’s World War I epic Dunkirk, and also played a human Jarvis in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically in the TV series Agent Carter and Endgame.
Rachel Miner (Jane) had some good roles in some killer TV shows, including the criminally underrated and unfortunately canceled after one lone season, Terriers, alongside the brilliant Donal Logue. She was also in Sons of Anarchy and another personal favorite, Californication, alongside David Duchovny for a dozen episodes.
Quinn Lord (Brendon) played the iconic Sam in Michael Dougherty’s Halloween staple, Trick ‘r’ Treat.
Joshua Close (Mark) was in one of George A. Romero’s final films, Diary of the Dead, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and will feature in the upcoming Scorsese film about the atrocities against the Osage tribe, Killers of the Flower Moon.
Of Gratuitous Nature
The whimsically scored (a la 2001: A Space Odyssey) forced sex scene between Mark (Close) and Mary (Blair) while in front of their “son” is, of course, the leading candidate. But it parlays into a cuckold scene that seems more fodder for fantasy than anything. I say that because shortly before, Mark was willing to be shot following the murder of his brother, and then suddenly, we are to believe that he is completely submissive.
Selma Blair has it all as an actor. She’s talented, endearing, beautiful, and photogenic.
Ripe for a Remake
There were big shoes to fill in this home invasion subgenre. I would say In Their Skin is a large step below You’re Next and leaps and bounds below Strangers — no point in coming back to this one.
No progeny to report.
Where to Watch
There is no physical high-definition release of In Their Skin, just a DVD. You can stream it on Shudder, AMC+, and Tubi.