Under the Skin Looks Creepy, Artsy, and Thrilling—Just Like the Book

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 11 2014 2:33 PM

Under the Skin Looks Creepy, Artsy, and Thrilling

johansson_skin
Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin

StudioCanal

From disembodied computer voice to dazzling alien, Scarlett Johansson swings from one nonhuman performance to the next with Under the Skin, a British film which has just released an official trailer. This follows on from a teaser and red-band clip, all of which feature some seriously weird visuals: lonely hitchhikers in the Scottish Highlands, a man submerged in what appears to be oil, Johansson sleeping in a field and later speaking with a Scottish accent.

Under the Skin is directed by Jonathan Glazer, best known for Birth, and it premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year to a somewhat divided reception. The Guardian complimented it as a “malarial dream,” while acknowledging “an even split of cheering and boos” in the audience. L.A. Weekly, meanwhile, declared it the best film of the competition, and wondered if “we may finally have an heir to Kubrick.”

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That’s a strong claim, obviously, but some clue of what to expect can be found in the movie’s source material, an excellent novel by Michel Faber in which—spoiler alert—a woman named Isserley picks up men, seduces them, drugs them, and then harvests their bodies for food in a subterranean slaughterhouse before shipping them back to her home planet because she is an alien.

Unsurprisingly, the book is a mind trip. It is also deeply unsettling. This trailer appears to promise something similar.

Lance Richardson is a writer based in New York. Follow him on Twitter, or visit his website.