As far as gross things are concerned, skinless-ness is pretty up there. And the film Skinless has some pretty gross skinless sequences (and even one scene that involves a character cutting their skin off their own face—a scene that I had to fast-forward through). But while this horror film lives up to its terrifying DVD cover, there is actually a pretty decent story buried somewhere within the movie.
Eccentric young and handsome Dr. Peter Peele (Brandon Salkil) has discovered the cure for cancer—at least of the melanoma variety. The cure lies within the enzymes produced by a very gross (and very fake) looking worm from some exotic location. Peter eagerly shares the news with the woman he loves but who does not love him back, Dr. Alice Cross (Erin R. Ryan). Unfortunately, the duo is fairly broke and needs some outstanding evidence of the cure’s abilities for funding. Fortuitously, Peter has just discovered he has melanoma and uses the serum on himself. Unfortunately, it is against Alice’s wishes.
From there it is a hop, skip, and a jump into clichéd horror moments as Peter’s skin falls off and he locks Alice in the attic and spits desiccating acid on those who try to help him or stop him. Horror moments are played up; gross moments are played up. But the internal psychological drama and science fiction implications, which are prevalent in the beginning of the film, are suppressed. Peter and Alice start off as well-developed, engaging characters (for a super indie film); but they lose their intrigue as the film loses its ties to a character drama and embraces those horror clichés. A disappointing direction from such a sleek independent film (poor lighting or not).
You can listen to some amateur commentary by writer/director Dustin Wade Mills or watch some of his production diaries where he describes how he pulled off the film’s special effects.
"Skinless" is on sale November 18, 2014 and is not rated. Horror. Written and directed by Dustin Mills. Starring Brandon Salkil, Erin R Ryan.