Cold Skin (film)
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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Xavier Gens|
|Based on||Cold Skin|
by Albert Sánchez Piñol
|Music by||Víctor Reyes|
|Distributed by||Samuel Goldwyn Films|
Cold Skin is a 2017 French-Spanish sci-fi horror film directed by Xavier Gens and based on the 2002 novel of the same name by Albert Sánchez Piñol. The film was released on 20 October 2017 in Spain. Samuel Goldwyn Films released the film in the United States.
In 1914, a young Irishman named Friend travels to a remote island in the South Atlantic to work as a meteorologist as the previous one passed away. The only other inhabitant of the island is the caretaker of the lighthouse, Gruner, who greets Friend quite coldly. Soon the young meteorologist realizes that the death of his predecessor occurred not from typhus, which is the official explanation, but from the invasion of unknown creatures emerging in the dark from the ocean.
Upon arriving at the island he walks around, seeing strange rock circles on the beach. When he returns to the cabin he finds the diary of the previous meteorologist which talks of strange creatures from the sea attacking, soon after reading this he is beset at night by strange creatures. Friend hides in the cellar and jabs one who looks through the floorboards, causing them to flee. The next day he calls to Gruner to let him into the lighthouse to no avail. In the cabin he discovers a rifle among the baggage, determining to make a stand he reinforces the cabin. The creatures come at night again, he shoots at them but eventually has to resort to starting a fire, which causes them to flee but ruins the cabin.
The next day he observes Gruner leaving the lighthouse, following him down to the rocks he discovers a female sea creature with Gruner, learning that Gruner has made her his pet and sex slave. He offers Gruner ammunition and other supplies if he is willing to let him stay in the lighthouse, which Gruner accepts. The creatures attack at night, Friend however faints during the attack. The next morning a furious Gruner tells him he has one more chance and now tells him to do menial activities such as fetch water. When during the next night the creatures attack again Gruner locks him outside on the balcony alone, leaving him to see if he can fend for himself. The next morning Gruner discovers him covered in creature blood and alive.
The two men settle into a routine, the creatures attack many nights and they must always keep watch. Tensions occasionally arrive over the female creature, which Friend grows to like while Gruner physically and sexually abuses her. Gruner refusing to let him signal a passing ship. One night they come perilously close to being killed when they are overrun and forced to lock themselves inside the lighthouse light until dawn drove the creatures off.
The creatures have not attacked for many weeks. Friend takes to walking along the beach, collecting whalebones and carving them. One day he discovers a lifeboat on the beach, inquiring to Gruner he discovers that it is the boat of a shipwrecked Portuguese individual who had been killed by the creatures. He also learns that the boat's cargo contained dynamite. Friend convinces Gruner to let him use an old dive suit to go down and get the dynamite from the ship. While down there he manages to recover the dynamite, but also sees what seem to be playful baby versions of creatures.
Friend and Gruner devise a plan to destroy the sea creatures, planning to lure many of them in close to the lighthouse by leaving the door open before setting off dynamite around it. The creatures duly make their attack, but Gruner fails to set off the first explosives causing Friend to have to run up to the top of the lighthouse and reconnect the detonator. The resulting blast kills a multitude of the creatures. Gruner then sets off the secondary explosives which are much closer to the lighthouse, knocking both Friend and himself unconscious. In the morning Gruner finishes off the wounded creatures, delighted at the results of their counter-attack, while Friend, upon seeing one of the dead creatures wearing a necklace, becomes somewhat less pleased. The immediate night, the creatures do not attack; instead making a mournful wailing sound for their dead. Friend once again takes to walking along the beach, seeing the baby creatures playing in the water and by the circles of stones he decides to leave a carved present for them.
The next day Friend goes out and discovers a baby creature accepting his present, and many non-hostile creatures appear along with the female creature that Gruner has been abusing and forced into sexual slavery. They are interrupted by a shot, as Gruner appears. Friend tries to tell him that they want a truce while Gruner demands that his slave/pet returns to the lighthouse, she refuses, Gruner in hysteria runs back to the lighthouse. Friend tries to continue but Gruner starts shooting flares at the creatures, striking and killing one of the babies. Friend runs back to the lighthouse and fights Gruner in anger, weapons are drawn and Gruner gets the upper hand, but stops his attack when Friend calls out his real name--that of the previous meteorologist. Gruner, suddenly remembering his life before the creatures, staggers outside and accepts being killed by the sea creatures.
Some time later the next ship arrives to replace Friend, mistaking him for the lighthouse keeper Gruner, a role which he decides to fulfil.
- Ray Stevenson as Gruner
- David Oakes as Friend
- Aura Garrido as Aneris
- John Benfield as Captain Axel
- Iván González as Weather Official
- Winslow Iwaki as Senegalese
- Ben Temple as Ship Official
- William Frater as Fishman
In the early stages of production, Stellan Skarsgård was appointed to the role of Gruner, while Elena Anaya had to play Aneris. The screen version of the book turned out to be very detailed and accurate, down to the "thoughts aloud" of the protagonist.
The protagonist gives the girl the name Aneris, which is the reverse spelling of the Spanish word sirena or siren in English.
Cold Skin has grossed a worldwide total of $752,552. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 48%, based on 23 reviews, and an average rating of 6/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Cold Skin exerts a strong visual pull, even if all that icy atmosphere isn't a truly satisfying substitute for a story that dares to go somewhere different."
- Miska, Brad (6 July 2017). "Here's a Lovecraftian Monster from Xavier Gens' 'Cold Skin'!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- "La Piel Fría (2017)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
- Billington, Alex (12 July 2017). "First Teaser Trailer for Xavier Gens' Chilly New Sci-Fi Film 'Cold Skin'". FirstShowing.net. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- Webster, Chris (30 June 2016). "First Look: Xavier Gens Wraps 'Cold Skin'!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
- N'Duka, Amanda (28 February 2018). "Samuel Goldwyn Picks Up Rights To 'Cold Skin'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
- "Cold Skin (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 7 December 2018.