Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Evolution Of Kyle Edward Ball's Skinamarink From YouTube Comments To Feature Film

Every so often, a horror film will capture the interest of social media, inspiring people to seek it out, almost creating a mythos behind it before it's even been released. That's what's happened with the newest horror flick to inspire nightmares in 2023 — "Skinamarink."

A month ago, Shudder released a trailer for the movie, and it's unlike many trailers released these days. Instead of giving away the plot or including a bunch of jump scares, the "Skinamarink" trailer seems content with oozing an ominous atmosphere, showing long shots of an almost empty house and the couple of children who inhabit it. Through all this, there's a creepy voice that repeats, "In this house."

A plot synopsis for the film states that it follows two kids who wake up in the middle of the night to discover their father is gone, and all the doors and windows of the house have vanished. While they can't see much, they're aware of a presence in the house, proving they're not alone. The film comes out in theaters on January 13, but there's already a ton of buzz surrounding it and the first-time director behind the camera, Kyle Edward Ball. As it turns out, this isn't his first time transporting nightmares onto film, and there are many reasons for first-time viewers to get excited to see what the filmmaker has done. 

Kyle Edward Ball got his start making short films on YouTube

"Skinamarink" may be Kyle Edward Ball's first foray into feature-length filmmaking, but he's already well-versed in terrifying viewers. He got his start behind the YouTube channel Bitesized Nightmares. The premise behind the channel is that people can submit comments about nightmares they've had, and Ball would recreate the nightmare on film and present it for everyone to see. 

Dozens of videos are online for you to watch in case you want a difficult time going to sleep at night. He even came out with a 30-minute proof-of-concept film that would eventually become "Skinamarink" titled "Heck" on YouTube. It follows the same basic premise as the forthcoming film, where a child wakes up at night, unable to find their parent. And most terrifying of all, there's no way to escape the abode. 

Interestingly, when Ball was making YouTube videos, he began noticing patterns in the nightmares people would describe to him. It's almost like there were universal experiences people were having and subconsciously living through in their dreams. When speaking with RogerEbert.com, Ball spoke of this phenomenon, "People kept commenting on my videos with the exact same dream that they had: 'I'm between the ages of six and 10, I'm at my house, my parents are either dead or missing, and there's a monster." With that in mind, it's clear "Skinamarink" has the potential to tap into something primordial within a good portion of the population and inspire those same nightmares within adults. 

It took seven days to film Skinamarink

Kyle Edward Ball then took this nightmare to cineplexes with "Skinamarink." RogerEbert.com goes on to explain how Ball came to develop the film, making it on a budget of $15,000, a good portion of which came through crowdfunding. To cut costs even further, Ball shot the film in his parents' house where he grew up. He also borrowed equipment from the Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta. 

While working under such restrictions might feel limiting to some, Ball actually found it freeing. He had to incorporate unique camera angles and cinematic techniques to mimic the point of view of a child. In total, the shoot lasted for seven days with a micro crew. It proved to be fortuitous, as "Skinamarink" premiered to strong critical acclaim at the Fantasia International Film Festival. However, the movie was then leaked online, further bolstering word of mouth as the movie blew up on TikTok and Reddit. 

While Ball obviously isn't thrilled about the movie getting pirated, he's just happy people are seeing it, stating, "When someone sees my movie—whether it's in a theater, or streaming on Shudder, or they pirated it—and they love it, I can't help but be happy that they loved it, right?" Now, people will be able to see the film as it was intended to be seen — in a movie theater with other people around to experience the terror with. It premieres in theaters on January 13 and will come out on Shudder at a later date in 2023.