Surreal forces lurk behind the fluorescent facade of an unassuming Midwestern town in Jennifer Reeder’s hyper-stylized Knives And Skin. Sophomore year of high school is upended when Carolyn Harper (Raven Whitley) suddenly vanishes after being abandoned at the lake by her jock boyfriend (Ty Olwin). In the wake of Carolyn’s mysterious disappearance, a dark abyss widens among the inhabitants of Big River as the ripples of anxiety and mistrust begin to permeate through the high school halls and beyond. In a series of intertwined suburban vignettes, fear and loss cause the members of Carolyn's inner-circle to develop unexpected and desperate coping strategies as they slowly begin to unravel under the impact of their grief and suspicions.
Neon-drenched cinematography, moody synthesizers, and acapella renditions of 80s pop hits are the foundations of this feminist teen noir that evokes the surreal dreamscape of Twin Peaks and the mean-girl existential malaise of Heathers. In Reeder’s uncanny exploration of communal trauma, where young women have magic powers and disheveled clowns have the ability to reanimate corpses, small-town mentality is presented as something bordering on psychosis.
CAST & CREDITS
Directed by Jennifer Reeder
Jennifer Reeder constructs personal fiction films about relationships, trauma, and coping. Her award-winning narratives borrow from a range of forms including after-school specials, amateur music videos, and magical realism. These films have shown around the world, including the Sundance, Berlinale, SXSW, and The Whitney Biennial.
Brian Hieggelke, Jan Hieggelke
Tremaine Atkinson, Christopher Keogh, Tony Olson
Jason Fura, Bette Cerf Hill, Tracy L. Miller, Nabeela Rasheed
Marika Engelhardt, Tim Hopper, Kate Arrington, Audrey Francis, James Vincent Meredith, Ty Olwin, Grace Smith, Ireon Roach, Raven Whitley, Kayla Carter, Jalen Gilbert, Emma Ladji, Robert Cunningham, Tony Fitzpatrick, Marilyn Dodds Frank