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Skinned Deep (2003) Severin Blu-ray Review
Skinned Deep is an unusual one, to be sure, but horror fans should check it out because it’s not just a misfire; it’s a comedy disguised as a horror film.
A family on a road vacation is tormented by a family of bizarre maniacs after taking an unplanned detour.
With his trap jaw mouth and steel helmet, he looks like a bear trap, and he doesn’t negotiate. There’s a deranged murderer out there in the boondocks, shooting lone cars in the middle of the night. The Surgeon General disembowels his captives with chains and an odd-looking skinner/dagger. Not the kind of person you want to run across on the highway. Meanwhile, on a road trip, a stereotypical American family — two obese and ugly parents and their two spoilt children – has a flat tire (sabotage) on the lonely stretch of road where the Surgeon General hunts his victims. Dad and the family go to the closest restaurant, where they are greeted by a kind elderly woman who invites them back to her home so her son may repair their tire. The babbling stupid family does their best to comply, and they soon find themselves being hosted by a psychotic family that will quickly cut them up for supper. Tina (Karoline Brandt) attempts to flee after her family is slaughtered in front of her, but she is caught by the maniacs and treated to by Brain (Jason Dugre), a strangeo who wears his huge brain outside of his head. Tina is the focus of Brain’s attention, and he “wants to retain her,” but Surgeon General has other ideas: he wants to “turn” her and make her one of them to demonstrate that evil triumphs over purity, and that anybody can be easily seduced. Tina carefully plots her vengeance… and her escape as she falls under the spell (or so the family believes).
Skinned Deep, a would-be parody on Texas Chainsaw Massacre, is everything but frightening, thanks in large part to a comical, fish eye lens technique that makes it look much more like Alex Winter’s cult classic. With its bizarre make-up effects, slapstick humor (Warwick Davis portrays a freak called “Plates” since his weapon of choice is tossing dinner plates at victims while cackling), and clumsy directing by make-up effects man Gabe Bartalos, Freaked is a must-see. The whole film lacks suspense and is much more focused with pulling off Jackass-style stunts and comedic set pieces than with frightening you, but it is gruesome and bloody in ways you may not anticipate. When Brain’s brain is cracked open, for example, instead of goopy gore, reading blocks fall out. Huh? Okay, that’s OK. Skinned Deep is an unusual one, to be sure, but horror fans should check it out because it’s not just a misfire; it’s a comedy disguised as a horror film.
Skinned Deep was just released on Blu-ray, marking the first time the film has been distributed in high quality. The DVD was a bit of a snoozer, but now you can add the picture to your horror collection with extra features including “Deep Cuts: A Look Back” and an audio commentary (both of which were on the DVD), an archive making-of documentary, and the trailer. The film is presented in a 1:33:1 aspect ratio.
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