In My Skin 2002 ★★★

Marina de Van writes, directs and stars in this psychological study of the disconnect between body and mind. De Van plays a woman who, after accidentally injuring her leg at a party, begins an unhealthy obsession with her own flesh. In My Skin takes self-harming to Cronenbergian levels of body horror as she prods, tears and stabs at her own flesh before embarking on self-cannibalism and beyond.

Her journey of quite literal self-discovery is cold and aloof. We witness her self-mutilation but the reasons for this new found fascination remains frustratingly vague. Whilst trying to explain it may have come across as glib the film doesn’t even attempt to raise causes for this desire for dissection. There is little sign she derives masochistic pleasure from the act of self-harm or that she is escaping from an external angst or even feeling in control of a particular situation. I do like ambiguity, particularly in these types of films, but here the experience is a little too empty and the character lacks the required development to make the story really work.

The film is still intriguing though with fine performances and realistic body horror that makes for far more uncomfortable viewing than many gore heavy horror films (such as Martyrs and the like). Although far from the film it could, and should, have been this is still worthy of greater attention.

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