Skinned Deep – 2004

Oh my god, where do I begin?

On a 16 hour drive down to Florida, I presented my father the opportunity to pick the movie we would watch.  Yes, he’s aware of my, “unique” taste in movies.  In fact, he’s the person that first introduced me to Thankskilling.

But, nothing could prepare him for this.

No, just go.  Leave now.

If Warwick Davis doesn’t drink himself to sleep at night because of this movie, I’d be absolutely surprised.  Skinned Deep combines all the country charm of the rape-scene from Deliverance with the presentation and visual quality of homemade 70’s porn.

Homemade 70’s dungeon porn.

Welcome to Skinned Deep.

The movie starts out slow, with a nameless old man being introduced solely for the purpose of being slaughtered.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love a good gore film as much as the next guy, but there’s no real justification for it.  You don’t really have a reason to care why he’s getting murdered, he’s simply a gorgeous pig for the purpose of slitting.  But for now, a man in a doctor’s smock butchers an old driver for unironically drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon.  He throws a meat-hook on a chain through the old man’s car window, which then catches into his leg.  The old man asks “What’s that?” and swerves off the road and dies.  Then we spend the entire opening credits beating the old man’s car with a pipe.


There are two types of characters in this movie, those who are going to be killed, and those who do the killing.  That’s it.  First, we’re introduced to the Rockwells on vacation, a family of four driving across country.  The only important one is Tina, the oldest child.  They run into car trouble and manage to stop into the only place in town harboring a basement full of murderers.  This is where we meet our antagonists, a family of deranged mutants who really enjoy several varieties of sado-masochism.

The mutant family is made up of a mother-figure, Granny, two older brothers, Plates and Surgeon General, and a little brother type, Brain.  Granny is your typical psychopath, always with a giant grin that’s only barely concealing her seething rage and murderous intent.  Surgeon General, the strong silent-type, also he’ll gut you like a fish for looking at him.  His most distinctive characteristic is his giant metal mouth and doctor’s apron.  The little brother, “Brain”, is a complex, naïve at times character who can’t decide if he wants to kill or escape and live a normal life.  Then we have our “star”. Warwick Davis as Plates, the albino, twitchy, older brother that murders people with, you guessed it, dinner plates.

Warwick Davis, I'll never forgive you.

The plot attempts to get philosophical at times by having Plates compare human life to how dinner plates are created.  “Dirt from the Earth is ground up and forged in the fires to create something smooth and unique.”  Or something similarly retarded.

You’ll notice almost immediately that the audio and video were recorded at separate times.  The tone of voice rarely matches up with the acting on-screen.  In one scene, Brain appears to be pleading for Granny to spare the oldest daughter, Tina.  But what you hear is a monotone, “No, please. I need her. Let her live. Please, no.”  There are plenty of places where the audio doesn’t sync up with the character’s mouths, which is particularly noticeable and disorienting during close-ups and monologues.

At the end of the day, between Brain’s naked dream sequence, an old man named Shakes murdering Plates by bludgeoning him to death, and the Surgeon General surviving a murder attempt via two separate vests made of C4, there are no redeeming qualities to this movie.  Unless you enjoy watching a naked old man punch a midget to death, which, let’s be honest, who doesn’t?  I wish I could look past the other flaws and just enjoy the dwarficide, but I can’t.

It's... for the best.

The M. Night Shyamalan Twist™ at the end involves, SURPRISE, a character that had nothing to do with any of the plot being somehow completely responsible for the entire thing!  Wow, who saw that coming?  A character that you meet for 20 seconds in the beginning of the film, and don’t see or hear about again until the final 40 seconds of the film, WHO ISN’T EVEN NAMED OR REFERENCED IN ANY WAY AT ALL DURING THE MOVIE, is the villain behind these dastardly murders, even though we watched the mutant freaks murder everyone.


The soundtrack to the end credits is literally a woman screaming “NOOO” over and over.  It’s the first movie I ever purposefully watched the entire end credits just to see if it ever stopped.  It didn’t, not until the last name scrolled up the screen.  That’s dedication, folks.

Go watch this movie if you hate yourself.  My dad still won’t talk to me.

Yeah, go ahead, watch this like you’ve made a good choice. I hate you.
Showing 4 comments
  • Sam Routledge

    I'ma disagree with you calling it an M. Night Shyamalan Twist and say it sounds more like a Scooby-Doo twist.

    I haven't seen the movie, but I have seen way more Scooby-Doo than I should have, and that's a classic Scooby plot device.

  • Nigel Daniel

    You know what? You're absolutely correct. Good call. 🙂

  • beermovieguide

    Hey. I think I enjoyed this movie a bit more than you did.

    Here's my review:

  • TomRipley

    I think that is very interesting movie with strong symbolisms, photography, multi levels, and a strange taste of humour. The scene with the headless body who speaks from the monitors who shows the dark moments of history of 20th century is true masterpiece of the underground cinema.

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