Jennifer Reeder, USA
Knife hidden behind her back, a mother (Kate Arrington) moves quietly through an apartment calling out for her daughter Carolyn (Raven Whitley). Upon forcing the door open to her daughter’s room finds that she has not been home all night. The lighting is mysterious and mystical with hues of blue purple and pink which gives this rural Midwest town a magical touch but not a comforting feeling. Carolyn Harper has just gone missing after having a date with the self-absorbed but insecure jock Andy (Ty Olwin).The film takes on an investigational form of a surreal nightmare as each character gives a bizarre testimonial to what possibly could have happened to Harper. It concentrates on three on her friends revealing their own feelings, suspicions and truths about being a teenager, all belonging to dysfunctional families.
Unfortunately American director Jennifer Reeder’s film reminded me too much of David Lynch’s 1980’s cult –classic TWIN PEAK series which had a similar plot of a missing girl in a small rural town. Lynch’s clear vision seemed to be missing in Reeder’s watered-down version. There is underlying symbolism and clearly the characters want to break free from this candy-coated environment but somehow the film doesn’t take it to the next level. Reeder states clearly that she was influenced by Lynch’s work. Reeder’s selection of music also references the same 1980’s genre of music that Lynch picked. I really wanted her to go for it. I think this film has potential but she is playing it too safe.
During Q&A in Berlin she describes herself as a young punk girl who had to escape the Midwest to find herself in the big city. Ok Jennifer Reeder, where are your spikes? And look at your music? That is not punk music. It’s new wave. Perhaps that’s the problem? Her perfectly classy outfit seems to be a contrast to image of her younger self which she was describing; the one who wanted so badly out of the suburbs. Perhaps she should take a deeper look at what she wants these characters to say because she does have very strong comeback lines. The main problem in this film is although Reeder is highly creative with many quick one liners and visually her film was beautifully mystical and surreal but lacked guts. KNIVES AND SKINfeels forced with style and perfection. There is no room for raw expressionism which could give this film a fresh feeling. At the end I felt like a voyeur viewing an accident from a very distant.