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The Ending Of Skinamarink Explained

Indie horror fans are already getting treated in 2023 with the highly anticipated release of Kyle Edward Ball's feature directorial debut, "Skinamarink." The film follows young siblings Kevin (Lucas Paul) and Kaylee (Dali Rose Tetreault) shortly following the mysterious disappearance of their father (Ross Paul). To make matter worse, all of a sudden, their house doesn't have windows or doors anymore. They begin to feel another presence within the house that fills it with haunting horrors. The film's experimental style and Jamie McRae's cinematography make "Skinamarink a bone-chilling, atmospheric experience that transports viewers into an unsettling nightmare. 

Ball got his inspiration from common themes and tropes from requests on his YouTube Channel Bitesized Nightmares where he would recreate his subscriber's nightmares, so it's no surprise that "Skinamarink" touches on relatable terrors. However, the story of "Skinamarink" definitely has an abstract approach that makes it a little tough to grasp. The film maintains its dreamlike nature throughout, making some of the big story points surrounding this mysterious entity and the fates of Kevin and Kaylee hard to figure out on a first viewing. That's why we're here to talk about the mind-bending finale of "Skinamarink" and even throw out some theories about everything that happens. 

A compelling voice

After seeing their father and their only escape routes disappear from the house, Kevin and Kaylee are definitely on edge and curious about what's happening to them. That's why when Kaylee suddenly hears a voice telling her to come upstairs, she follows without hesitation. As she heads upstairs, the voice grows louder and becomes clearer to the point where it sounds just like her father. However, upon entering the bedroom, Kaylee finds that no one is in the room. 

Yet, the voice still speaks and urges Kaylee to look under the bed. While this cryptic request might lead you to believe that something horrifying is waiting for Kaylee, there's nothing there. Instead, Kaylee finds a female figure sitting on top of the bed who suggests that she is Kaylee and Kevin's mother (Jaime Hill). The conversation has a deeply unsettling tone and even when Kaylee is told to leave, she's understandably paralyzed by fear. Although Kaylee is able to escape for the moment after a heart-stopping jump scare, she seems terribly shaken up. 

Kaylee's horrifying fate

After Kaylee comes back downstairs from the bedroom, she's definitely not the same anymore. She's not as responsive to Kevin and won't talk about what she saw upstairs. Eventually, she just kind of disappears. After a bit, Kevin finds her, but not in the way anyone would expect. Kevin hears her voice, but it sounds both muffled and very afraid. As Kevin searches for Kaylee in the dark, he comes across a figure with no eyes or mouth. 

While it's not confirmed in the moment, the entity later tells Kevin that this is, indeed, Kaylee. Because Kaylee refused to follow the entity's commands, it took away her mouth and eyes, turning her into this faceless horror that would scare anyone who saw her. After Kevin encounters Kaylee in this form, the entity makes her disappear from existence just like her father, leaving Kevin on his own throughout the rest of the film. Kaylee's young age makes this fate even more disturbing and it's easily one of the most skin-crawling moments in "Skinamarink."

Some predictive cartoons

Throughout "Skinamarink," the family TV plays old cartoons that, oddly enough, kind of reflect the events happening throughout the film. The images of two children floating into a dreamlike setting certainly feels right at home with what's happening to Kevin and Kaylee. The sequence of a young boy leading a flock of birds towards him kind of foreshadows the entity leading Kaylee upstairs. Even the final repeating image of a rabbit causing itself to disappear feels like a perfect replication of this entity causing other things and people to disappear throughout the film. 

Now, it's tough to say if these cartoon sequences are occurring naturally. Considering the scenes have some pretty specific messaging, it could be the case that the entity itself is projecting these images. Perhaps the entity wants to warn or implant ideas in Kaylee and Kevin's heads through cartoons. Maybe it's taunting them by showing them that it has total control over them. Either way, the film's cartoon imagery is one of its creepiest elements and plays a subtle role in the film's storytelling.

Reality-bending powers

At one point, Kevin is able to talk with the entity when it proclaims that it "can do anything." Well, based on what it's able to do in the film, its proclamation appears to be scary accurate. Throughout "Skinamarink," it's constantly distorting reality by causing not only Kevin and Kaylee's father to disappear, but also phasing doors and even the toilet out of existence. Its powers go even further when it flips the house upside down, forcing Kevin to traverse the ceiling.

The entity's ability to coerce Kevin and Kaylee to do things, though, is easily one of its more destructive powers. Not only does it lead Kaylee into a fatal situation when it gets her to go upstairs, but it also causes Kevin to be violent towards himself in an absolutely gut-wrenching scene. The exact nature of this mysterious entity is never fully disclosed in "Skinamarink," but its mind-bending powers are on full display, making for a harrowing and tense visual nightmare.  

Maybe it's the mother?

The mysterious entity of "Skinamarink" is never given a confirmed identity. Even when Kevin asks for its name at the end of the film, it doesn't give an answer. However, based on the entity's female figure, it's possible that this supernatural figure could be Kevin and Kaylee's mother. We never see their mother prior to their father disappearing and she's only mentioned briefly. Plus, even while we do see the father talking to someone about Kevin's accident at the start of the film, it's never confirmed that he's talking to Kevin and Kaylee's mother. 

Now, it's worth noting that the entity does some pretty horrific stuff to Kevin and Kaylee, including making Kevin harm himself, so it is also possible that the entity just takes this form to more easily lure the children. But despite its cruel actions, there's still a motherly feel to the entity that doesn't go unnoticed. Its sudden appearance shortly after Kevin's accident is likely no coincidence and possibly acts as the key reason for its presence. Maybe in some twisted way, it thinks it's protecting Kevin by isolating him, and taking the appearance of their mother would definitely make it easier to get Kevin and Kaylee on its side. 

Not in the eye

By the time Kevin is finally alone in the house with the entity, he's clearly at a breaking point. There's no one to protect him and the entity now sees him as a prime target. He's so scared that he's eventually seen sitting in a dark room by himself while the entity causes the TV to play a cartoon scene on repeat. After hearing some rustling sounds, we see some small shots of Kevin hyperventilating in a room by himself. At first, it's a scene that seems mostly harmless ... until the entity chimes in with a gruesome request. 

Apparently, Kevin is holding a knife that's tough to see and the entity requests that he put it in his eye. Without hesitation, Kevin does it and you can feel your stomach turn in the moment. Not only is it done in such a fast-paced manner that you don't have time to process what's happening, but it's followed by Kevin's gut-wrenching screams heard throughout the house. It's even more horrifying when you realize that no one can come help him and he's stuck dealing with this at only the age of 4. He is eventually able to call 911 for help, but it's a scene that leaves a mortifying mark.   

A call for help

Since we're on the subject of that 911 call, it's worth dissecting that scene a bit since it's a crucial moment in the film. After the entity convinces Kevin to stab his eye out, leading to a blood-curdling scream, he calls 911 for help. While it seems like a futile effort given how bad things have gotten, Kevin is able to reach someone, and they have a conversation that initially instills some hope. 

Their conversation lasts for quite a while and sees the 911 operator act very sweetly towards Kevin, who's dealing with a severe injury. However, Kevin is eventually drawn away from the phone and can't get help before the entity really puts Kevin into a mind-bending tailspin. Truthfully, though, it's very likely that this 911 call wasn't a sign of help at all and was just another trick performed by the entity. With the entity seemingly capable of anything, it wouldn't be too far of a reach to say that the entity was actually the person on the line giving Kevin and the audience a false sense of hope. 

A darker world

With all the wild supernatural events happening throughout the house, it makes you wonder if Kevin and Kaylee have entered some kind of alternate reality. While Kevin's 911 call leads you to think that there's a chance that he's still in a normal reality, it quickly becomes clear that he's not. To say that things take a severely supernatural turn in the film's final act would be an understatement, as the entity puts Kevin through a bizarre ringer. 

The finale of "Skinamarink" has plenty of unsettling and trippy imagery that makes you feel like the entity has completely taken control. However, there's one moment in particular that stands out because it shows that Kevin and the house are no longer in their original reality. In a montage of unsettling imagery, we can see a house sitting in a dark and empty void. This could symbolize that the entity has taken the house into an isolated dimension. So, even though the 911 call gives us the impression that Kevin has a chance to escape, this image of the house warped out of existence proves that there was never any possibility of escape.

Days gone by

The passage of time in "Skinamarink" seems so slow that you can't help but wonder how long the entity has been terrorizing Kevin and Kaylee for. Well, the film possibly provides a stunning answer right before it delivers its final collection of mind-bending imagery. Just as Kevin goes upstairs to confront the entity, he comes across an accumulation of his toys that are flipped upside down to make for a creepy looking image that instantly induces chills. Then, the line "572 Days" appears and with no other indication of its meaning, it's safe to assume that the film is telling us how long this supernatural event has been going on for. 

Those that can do quick math likely have their jaws on the floor at the realization that this nightmare has been going on for nearly two years. It makes sense given the endless nature of the situation and it just adds to the hopelessness of Kevin's prospects for escaping. This reveal makes for a simple but effective gut punch and kicks off a series of brain-shattering moments of Kevin's reality distorting past the point of no return. 

Sleepwalking induced nightmare?

Although the reality distorting world of "Skinamarink" feels pretty real in the moment, there is a line early on that suggests that maybe none of it is real. After Kevin's accident at the start of the film, Kevin's father mentions to someone that Kaylee said that it was a result of sleepwalking. Now, we know that they were playing hide-and-seek at the start of the film, so this could just be Kaylee trying to cover for their late-night game. However, let's say that she isn't lying, and that Kevin really does have some sleepwalking issues. 

It could be theorized that this whole experience is just a nightmare that Kevin is experiencing while sleepwalking. This would explain the dreamlike nature of the world and how the family suddenly ends up in this situation. Now, the film never confirms this, so it is just a running theory, but that line definitely feels important since it comes just before the entity really enters the picture. 

No escape

The final moments of "Skinamarink" kind of leave things on a hollow note with Kevin and the entity coming face to face. After the entity pretty much causes Kevin to lose all hope of escaping through some mind-melting moments, Kevin comes to terms with his containment. At this point, there's literally no escape for him; the house no longer exists in its original reality and the entity is not loosening its grip on him anytime soon. 

Thus, Kevin stops resisting the entity and it eventually goes to him directly. However, it doesn't fully reveal itself and the only glimpses we get of it come from some unclear remnants of a face peering out of the darkness. The entity asks Kevin to go to sleep, likely so he can suffer the same fate as Kaylee and their father, and he tries to ask the entity what its name is only to get no response. For most, this will seem like kind of lackluster ending with no answers, but it still manages to be a creepy final sequence that ends things on an unsettlingly dour note.

Is Skinamarink for everyone?

"Skinamarink" has plenty of experimental filmmaking and abstract storytelling that could instantly attract the growing indie-horror crowd. The question is, though — can it also attract a mainstream audience? Its upcoming performance at the box office will be a telling sign, but based on the film itself, it's probably going to be a tough sell. While there's definitely some impressive filmmaking that could intrigue a large crowd and provide a unique theater experience, its abstract story will definitely turn off most "normal" moviegoers. 

The film's story is simply a little too slow to maintain a wider audience's attention, and it rarely features enough scares to make it feel like a fulfilling horror experience in the traditional sense. It also goes for strong atmosphere over a story that actually has something happening throughout most of it. Honestly, most of the film is just point-of-view footage of wandering through a house with characters that rarely speak, so it's easy to see mainstream horror fans becoming frustrated waiting for something to happen. "Skinamarink" will definitely jibe with indie and arthouse horror fans looking for a new visionary experience but will likely struggle to be as beloved by wider audiences. 

A new visionary

While "Skinamarink" might struggle to resonate with a wide horror audience because of its more abstract approach, Kyle Edward Ball's filmmaking is definitely noteworthy. The way he's able to craft such a uniquely surreal experience with the help of McRae's cinematography is worthy of seeing in a theater setting. It's precisely this kind of visually unsettling atmosphere that horror fans are always on the lookout for, and it genuinely evokes nasty chills at nearly every turn. 

Ball utilized every penny of the film's micro-budget of $15,000 perfectly in creating a visual nightmare that's almost hypnotizing at times for how strange and unpredictable it can be. Plus, with both IFC Midnight and Shudder involved in the film's release, he's already caught the attention of two powerful forces in the horror genre that fans know and love. "Skinamarink" won't be for everyone, but it's a strong showing and signals that a new visionary in the genre could be emerging.