Under the Skin

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Horror/Sci-Fi/Thriller, USA/UK, 2013, 108 min.

Synopsis A gothic horror story about alien predators who lure humans, through the suggestion of sex, into a secret lair where their skin is harvested so other aliens may move freely among the unsuspecting humans they hunt.The story focuses on one such newly guised alien (Scarlett Johansan) who takes the clothes off a dead woman (possibly a previous alien seductress) brought to her by her motorcycle riding agent. She drives a van, prowling the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland where she uses her sex appeal to attract single men. She attracts one such man into a secret lair, which consists of a nondescript black room with a shiny black floor. She slowly strips off her clothes in a dreamlike quality as walks away from him across the black floor. Mesmerized, the man strips off his clothes and follows her, but sinks into the black floor and disappears.This is done a few more times, as the alien carefully selects single, unattached men.One man (Andrew Gorman) is entrapped in the tarry blackness, but we can see him alive and looking around in the transparent black fluid. There he sees another victim who has been there for some time; his skin is wrinkled and his muscles have atrophied. Suddenly, the other man's muscles and bones are sucked out, leaving only an empty sack of skin. He watches as the skin slowly falls to the bottom of the pool.The alien tries to pick up a swimmer who is wearing a black wetsuit at the beach. As she does so, a tragic event unfolds. Off in the distance, we see a family: a man, woman, toddler and dog. The dog swims into the crashing waves and is sucked into the fast moving undertow. The woman enters the water to try and save the dog, but is also sucked away. Her husband now enters to try and save her, leaving the baby behind. The swimmer hears the commotion, and swims out to rescue the man. After bringing him to shore, the man pushes him away, and goes back after his wife. Exhausted, the swimmer collapses on the beach as the man is sucked away by the undertow. The alien knocks him unconscious with a rock and drags him away to her van, leaving the crying baby behind. Later, the motorcycle agent returns to gather the swimmer's things, completely ignoring the baby that is now surrounded by the encroaching tide.The alien is inspected by the motorcycle riding agent, presumably for tears in her human skin.The alien then picks up a man wearing a hood. Once in the van, we can see he appears to suffer from elephant man disease. She lures him into the room, but sees him in a different light, and sets him free. The motorcycle agent tracks down the man, kills him, and hides the body in the boot of a car.Later she looks closely at herself in a mirror for a long time. Perhaps she thinks she's human, or she desperately wants to be one. In either case, she runs away and abandons her van on a foggy highway in the middle of nowhere. Fog and sea spray curl in the wind.She walks to a nearby town where she tries to eat a slice of cake at a roadside cafe, but chokes and spits it out. She then meets and shacks up with a human male who is kind to her and shows her the sights. Later, he cooks her dinner and together they watch TV together. In bed, they try to have sex, but he is unable to penetrate her. Scared that something is wrong with her vagina, she examines herself with a lamp. At this point she realizes or accepts she's not human and runs away again. All the while, we see glimpses of motorcycle agents riding around Scotland trying to find her.The alien runs into a nearby forest where she receives her comeuppance. She's attacked by a logger (a predator himself) who wrestles her to the ground and tries to rape her, but in the struggle, he tears her skin and reveals her alien form within. Frightened by the sight, he runs away. She then peels away her skin and stares at her human face. The alien lurking underneath is not hideous, but is strangely humanlike. Moments later, the logger returns with a container of gasoline and dumps it on her, lighting her on fire. She runs away and falls to the ground, engulfed in flames.The movie ends as black smoke from her burning corpse curls away into the overcast sky above.

Directed by Jonathan Glazer  

Starring Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell, Kevin McAlinden, more...

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