Toronto After Dark Review: In Their Skin

James D'Arcy and Selma Blair face off in "In Their Skin"

Mark and Mary Hughes (Josh Close, Selma Blair) and their nine-year-old son Brendon (Quinn Lord) have retreated to their upscale family cottage in the wake of the death of their young daughter. One morning, Mark is woken up by a neighbouring family–also comprised of husband, wife and son–who are dropping off firewood and extremely eager to meet the Hughes. Mark is initially put off by overly effusive Bobby (James D’Arcy) and his oddly excited wife Jane (Rachel Miner), not to mention their suspiciously large for his age son Jared (Alex Ferris), but he reluctantly agrees to invite them for dinner that night. Dinner quickly becomes an exercise in awkwardness as Bobby’s questions become more and more personal and then takes a disastrous turn when Jared and Brendan’s argument over a video game ends up with a knife against Brendon’s throat.  The Hughes quickly find themselves under siege and a violent game of cat and mouse ensues once Bobby and his family force their way back into the house and reveal their true, entirely bizarre, agenda.

Operating on a much quieter and more unnerving level than we’re used to seeing from the home invasion genre of films, In Their Skin boasts some outstanding actors–both D’Arcy and Blair are bringing their ‘A’ games here–and a nuanced screenplay by Josh Close who allows the impending dread to percolate as the characters dance around one another rather than going for the easy shock and awe of immediate violence and gore. Director  Jeremy Power Regimbal does an excellent job of keeping a restrained tone throughout, slowly ratcheting up the tension in a way that will have you squirming in  your seat as you wait for the next horribly uncomfortable moment or unspeakably awful act of brutality to occur. This is a movie that definitely won’t appeal to everyone however, even despite its relative tameness when compared to films like The Strangers or Funny Games . It’s a film that’s trapped somewhere between genres: not quite violent enough to appeal to horror purists and perhaps a few too many horror tropes for people who are more interested in a straight drama. It does have a sly socioeconomic commentary though and at the very least, that makes it better than most of the home invasion films released to date.

Is In Their Skin Essential Toronto After Dark Viewing?

If home invasion flicks are your jam then definitely go and see this with the Toronto After Dark crowd – it’s the ideal setting for this type of film. Not to worry if you can’t make it though, the film opens in Toronto on October 26th, 2012.

In Their Skin Screening Time

  • Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 6:45pm at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

More About In Their Skin

In Their Skin Trailer

In Their Skin Production Gallery


Kristal Cooper has been a film buff since the age of two when her parents began sneaking her into the drive-in every weekend. Since then, she's pursued that passion by working for the Toronto International Film Festival and the Canadian Film Centre as well as spending many a happy hour inside Toronto's wonderful theatres (she still mourns the loss of The Uptown). She is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture and feminist issues, and continues to slog away at her day job as a small cog in the giant machinery of the Toronto film community.

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