Whether it made your 2023 in-out list or not, one industry trend from 2022 is already proving its longevity: horror does “making back a production budget” best. After the viral success of Terrifier 2 launched the underdog project to a $12.8 million U.S. box office yield last year, Kyle Edward Ball’s experimental debut Skinamarink appears to be soaring towards another internet-buoyed win.
Skinamarink has grossed $890,000 domestically since its limited, 692 theater release (a product of AMC’s acquisition of the film last December) kicked off on Friday the 13th, per Box Office Mojo. Although the opening didn’t quite push Skinamarink into the top 10 for MLK Weekend, the film’s minuscule $15,000 production budget (as reported by Bloody Disgusting) means Skinamarink is swiftly nearing a $1 million return.
Loosely speaking, Skinamarink follows two siblings, Kaylee (Dali Rose Tetreault) and Kevin (Lucas Paul), who awake in their house one morning to discover their parents gone, and with them, every window and door in the house. Filmed like secretive surveillance and chock full of shots that linger long enough to trap a viewer like an animal, Skinamarink masterfully wields (and reshapes) the tools of modern horror to create something totally weird and totally unique.
In The A.V. Club’s review of Skinamarink, Matthew Jackson crowns the film a “top contender for the year’s most frightening film,” and lauds it as “stunningly mesmeric” and “a singularly nightmarish piece of horror filmmaking.”
As Jackson also correctly predicted, Skinamarink is most certainly not for everyone—Skinamarink’s Rotten Tomatoes numbers are deliciously polarizing, ushering in the type of buzzy discourse that can lend to filling theater seats (if you’re not Babylon, of course). Skinamarink currently boasts a 75% fresh critical rating and a 47% rotten audience rating.
For those who don’t make it to the theater for Skinamarink, the film will arrive for streaming on Shudder later this year.