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The Reflecting Skin (1990)

The Reflecting Skin

Director:Philip Ridley
Cast:Jeremy Cooper, Viggo Mortensen, Lindsay Duncan
Genre:Film, Drama

By Adele Marley | Posted

Less a conventional horror film than a reflection on the insidiousness of evil and our inability to recognize it, The Reflecting Skin--Philip Ridley's diretorial debut, made around the same time he was penning the script for The Krays--tells the story of Seth Dove (Jeremy Cooper), an impressionable, mischievously (but unintentionally) cruel 8-year-old who interprets the peculiar behavior of a grief-stricken neighbor (Lindsay Duncan) as evidence that she's a vampire. Growing up in an abusive, bizarre household, Seth's only link to normalcy is his older brother Cameron (Viggo Mortensen), but they are hopelessly estranged when Cameron falls under the neighbor's spell. Ridley, who also wrote the script, deliberately reverses the flux of suspense--the viewers are practically omniscient, making the characters' limited perspective on what is happening to them genuinely nerve-wracking. The Reflecting Skin challenges any idealized notions you may have about the innocence of childhood. And any flick that ends with someone screaming uncontrollably can't be all bad.

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