Blu-ray Review: THE REFLECTING SKIN

THE REFLECTING SKIN was written and directed by Philip Ridley and stars Jeremy Cooper, Lindsay Duncan, Viggo Mortensen, Sheila Moore and Duncan Fraser. The music is composed by Nick Bicât.

As mysterious deaths plague a small prairie town in 1950s Idaho, eight year-old Seth (Jeremy Cooper) comes to believe that Dolphin Blue (Lindsay Duncan), the reclusive English widow living next door, is a vampire, stealing the souls of his neighborhood friends one by one. Seth’s worst nightmares come true when his older brother Cameron (Oscar® nominee Viggo Mortensen in one of his first starring roles) returns home from military service and falls in love with the widow. Could he be her next victim?  

The story centers around Seth (Jeremy Cooper) who lives with his bat shit crazy mother and his kind-but-withdrawn father. He thinks his new neighbor, Dolphin Blue (Lindsay Duncan), might be behind the mysterious disappearances of his friends. Seth even gives her a rude welcome to the small community and when she reaches out to befriend him it weirds the kid out even more. The widow tells him that she’s 200-years old and with the help of his imagination, and the book his father has been reading, Seth now thinks Dolphin could be a vampire. What happens is, Seth’s father becomes the prime suspect in the disappearances and murders of the local children and it doesn’t end well for him.

The thing is, there’s something much darker and sinister going on in the community besides Seth’s father being accused of these unspeakable crimes and the fact that he still thinks his neighbor is a vampire. This is when Seth’s older brother Cameron (Viggo Mortensen) returns home from the military and as soon as he meets Dolphin the two hit it off and Seth doesn’t like it one bit. In the end, Seth sees Dolphin one last time before she hitches a ride into town and he knows it’s not going to end well for her but deosn’t stop her from leaving. When Dolphin becomes the next victim in these mysterious deaths, Seth witnesses his brother’s heartbreaking loss and then the kid realizes he could have prevented this tragedy from happening and he finally has an emotional breakdown.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and the list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. Inside is a booklet with an introduction by Philip Ridley and a new essay by Travis Crawford and Heather Hyche. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, The Reflecting Skin is a movie I’ve seen a few times over the years and it’s really is a dark look at the American dream. The story about these tragic murders and the mystery behind them is what fuels the movie but there’s also the powerful perfomances by the entire cast, especially Jeremy Cooper and Lindsey Duncan. Viggo Mortensen really only has a supporting role in the movie with limited screen time. Something else impressive about The Reflecting Skin is the fact that this was the directorial debut for Philip Ridley who ended up delivering a haunting masterpiece. The movie also features some stunning cinematography by Dick Pope. This cult classic is a perfect mixture of genres with elements of horror, psychological thriller, coming-of-age, self discovery, vampire fable, gothic yarn and murder mystery all woven into one disturbing and unsettling watch. The Reflecting Skin will finally make its Blu-ray debut in the U.S. on August 13th.

Distributor: Film Movement Classics

Run Time: 96 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English LPCM 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The Blu-ray extras include Angels & Atom Bombs: The Making of The Reflecting Skin (44 minutes) and some audio commentary with writer/director Philip Ridley.

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4.5

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