Rosie is a devastated woman. Having lost her unborn child at some point in the recent past, she's having trouble letting go. Any woman who has gone through an ordeal such as this can relate - and so could most men. Moving on seems a hopeless dream - and even her boyfriend has given up on her. The couple are no more and for Rosie - life is simply unbearable. In a last ditch effort for some kind of closure, Rosie decides to get a tattoo using her ultrasound as the likeness. Not unheard of. For many people, the ink not only serves as a memory - but also a way to honor a loved one. It's only when this tattoo seems to gain life - that things really start getting strange. "Skin Baby" is a short horror themed film that at it's heart asks one question - how frail can our mental state become when dealing with loss? Especially the loss of a child - even one that never made it full term.
The plot that pushes this film forward sets itself up to be a horror/monster flick. By the end however, it's very clear that writer, director, Ken Cohen had something different in mind. "Skin Baby" is more about a woman with a deteriorating mental state than a standard horror flick. You could argue the smaller, cooler aspects of the film - such as the heartbeat and weevey-wavery fetus tattoo, were simply hallucinations of a degraded mind. But are these types of hallucinations not the heart of any good horror story? Could they, in fact, not be hallucinations at all? Or - even if they are the imaginings of a sick woman... are they real to Rosie? Real or imagined, Ken Cohen makes darn sure that we, the viewers, know this baby is back in the womb - at least in the eyes of our protagonist. There can be no doubt. Helping fuel her understandable rage, it makes no difference if some supernatural event has taken place or not. For her, it no longer even matters.
The technical elements, both pre-production straight through until post, are a mixed bag. Knowing this is a low budget film doesn't change my general perception of the onscreen action. For the most part, the visuals play out like a found footage film. Something that always screams low budget film. I've heard all the arguments on a shaky camera before. Conveying urgency or action - but I don't buy any of them. A tripod is a cheap piece of gear. In return you get a production, that even with a low brow camera looks professional. Always a plus when already working on a tight budget.
Another slice of this film that bothered me more than a little? The ending. It was so over the top with it's ridiculousness that I actually laughed. The next few lines contain SPOILERS. Am I supposed to believe that Kayla kept the cut off remains - from a person she met once, in her freezer, with her food... for three years? Seriously? Suspending belief when watching a horror flick is one thing. That... was something else completely.
With all that said... you know what reader? At the end of the day "Skin Baby" is not a bad film. By any means. The performances are surprisingly good. The practical effects range from good to downright gross - and it's a generally interesting premise. Ken Cohen and his troupe, deliver a short film that is both watchable and maybe even a little fun. But it could have been much better than an average horror movie. Still... this one is available to watch for free - and is well worth the eight minutes spent. A solid two and a half stars. Favorite scene? The slice and dice with the kitchen knife.