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Jonathan Glazer
Scarlett Johansson
Writing Credits:
Jonathan Glazer, Walter Campbell

A mysterious woman seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. Events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery.

Box Office:
$13 million.
Opening Weekend:
$133,154 on 4 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 108 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 7/15/2014

• 10 Behind the Scenes Featurettes
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Under the Skin [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 2, 2024)

With 2013’s Under the Skin, we get an unusual sci-fi story. When an alien in the UK dies, another one (Scarlett Johansson) takes her place.

She stalks human prey without emotion and kills these men to harvest their bodies. As this progresses, the alien starts to lose her focus.

She gradually begins to develop some form of empathy with her victims, a change that launches when she lures a lonely man with facial deformities and lets him go. From there we follow her journey as she becomes “more human”.

Going into Skin, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another abstract “alien disguised as a human” movie, 1976’s The Man Who Fell to Earth. The two films share enough similarities that I find it hard to believe Earth didn’t impact Skin in some ways.

When I first saw Earth in the 1980s, I found it to offer a slow, random, borderline narrative-free snoozer. I eventually came to like the movie, though, as once I knew what to expect, I could appreciate the film on its own merits and enjoy it.

Perhaps additional screenings of Skin will allow that to occur, but based on my first two viewings, I don’t find much to enjoy about it. Much of the problem comes from the film’s slowness and lack of narrative drive.

Truthfully, not a whole lot happens here, as our lead alien drives around, snags dudes and that’s about it. Some general movement toward self-exploration occurs in the third act, but it fails to add much to the proceedings.

I get the feeling Skin intends to be metaphorical in many ways. For instance, I find it tough to view the scenes in which the alien snares men in a literal manner.

While she stands at one end of a stark room, they come toward her with sex on their minds. The men then end up bogged down in goo that consumes them.

Perhaps we’re supposed to see those scenes as they’re depicted, but if so, they make no sense. Even the horniest guy won’t fail to notice that he’s slowly sinking into a dense liquid, so these sequences don’t work on a literal level.

As a metaphor for the manner in which men get led around by their genitalia, the scenes fare better, but they still seem thin. Perhaps they represent the self-destructive paths some guys take just to get a little action.

That seems easier to swallow than the conceit that these horny dudes want a little somethin’-somethin’ so much that they don’t notice the physical impediments in their way.

Again, maybe if I watch Skin a third time, the inner meaning will become more clear. My guess is that it still won’t seem especially insightful, but I won’t rule out the possibility that it’ll seem more meaningful on further review.

To date, however, I can’t help but see Skin as a slow, plodding snoozer. So little happens and so little apparent meaning comes with events that I don’t find much to recommend here. Johansson gets naked a lot, but otherwise this turns into a dull, forgettable film.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Under the Skin appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a largely solid presentation.

Overall sharpness worked fine. Some darker shots came across as a bit soft – probably intentionally – but the majority of the movie appeared accurate.

I noticed no issues with jagged edges or moire effects, and edge haloes created no concerns. I also didn’t witness any print flaws.

Colors leaned toward a stylized palette, with a lean toward teal and some other strong tones like reds and greens. Within the choices, these felt well-depicted and full.

Blacks seemed fairly deep – albeit a little inky at times – while shadows were generally fine, if a smidgen thick on occasion. In general, the film looked good.

Though not packed with ambition, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 offered more pep than I expected. Scenes on beaches or streets or in clubs tended to deliver fairly good immersiveness, as they used the five channels to place the viewer in the various settings.

Nothing ever became especially action-packed, but the movie brought us a pretty positive sense of settings.

Audio quality also worked fine. Speech was concise and natural, while music showed solid clarity and range.

Effects brought us positive accuracy and punch. The track never stood out as great, but the mix suited the story.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? The lossless audio boasted a bit more kick and range versus its lossy DVD counterpart.

Visuals demonstrated the more obvious improvements, as the DVD seemed inconsistent. With superior definition, colors and blacks, the Blu-ray became a clear upgrade.

In terms of extras, we get a collection of 10 Behind the Scenes Featurettes. These last a total of 42 minutes, 21 seconds and offer comments from director of photography Daniel Landin, co-writer/director Jonathan Glazer, editor Paul Watts, music supervisor/producer Peter Raeburn, production designer Chris Oddy, producer James Wilson, sound designer Johnnie Burn, 2nd unit director/visual effects supervisor Tom Debenham, one-cam camera engineer Arron Smith, one-cam technical supervisor Louis Mustill, Kahleen Crawford, locations manager Eugene Strange, composer Mica Levi, graphic designer Neil Kellerhouse, visual effects supervisor Dominic Parker and co-writer/executive producer Walter Campbell.

The clips examine photography, cast and performances, editing, sets and locations, music and sound design, poster art, production design, story/character areas and the source novel, and visual effects.

The featurettes tend to be rather dry, as they mix talking heads shots with images from the film. While not presented in an exciting manner, the clips offer a lot of good information. It’s too bad Scarlett Johansson doesn’t show up here, but we learn plenty about the film.

The disc opens with ads for Enemy, Locke, The Bling Ring, The Spectacular Now and Spring Breakers. No trailer for Skin appears here.

While I appreciate the unusual manner in which Under the Skin explores its sci-fi narrative, the result seems so slow that it threatens to lose the viewer. Perhaps the film boasts depth that I didn’t discern upon two screenings, but through these go-rounds, I find it tough to locate much more than boredom. The Blu-ray offers generally positive picture and audio along with some informative featurettes. Skin gets credit for ambition but drags too much to become a winner.

To rate this film visit the DVD review of UNDER THE SKIN

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