In Their Skin (2012) – or – Trading places.

Day eight of Toronto After Dark 2012 began with the incredibly dark and shiver inducing home invasion flick, In Their Skin. It’s James D’Arcy who steals the show as Bobby, the psychotic villain who is sure to make your skin crawl.

After an accident claims the life of their young daughter, Mary (Selma Blair) and Mark (Joshua Close) take their son Brendon (Quinn Lord) to their cottage for some quiet time. They’re greeted by Bobby (James D’Arcy), Jane (Rachel Miner) and their son Jared (Alex Ferris), close neighbours who seem a little off. After an uncomfortable dinner with their guests, Mark and Mary learn that Bobby wants more then friendship from the family.

Typically, the home invasion genre is filled with villains who destroy lives simply because they can. It’s usually a story of wrong place, wrong time for whichever family or couple is caught in the insanity. Director Jeremy Power Regimbal and writer Joshua Close still stick close to the wrong place, wrong time idea, but expand on it to give it a little something more. Revealing that something more is only going to ruin the fun though. You can be sure that this film will have one of the most disgusting and creepy villains around in Bobby (James D’Arcy).

James D'Arcy is fantastic as the villain Bobby.

Bobby is the kind of character that you know there’s something wrong with right away. Since you’re sitting and watching a movie, you obviously know that Bobby will be swinging guns around and delivering unstable monologues at some point in the film. Look from a larger perspective and you can start to accept that Bobby may just be extremely socially awkward. As Bobby and his family have dinner with Mark and Mary, you twitch uncomfortably because you feel so embarrassed for them. It’s hard to watch people do something that you know is terribly inappropriate, and even worse when they only realize what they’ve done after the fact. If you felt bad for Bobby at first, it isn’t long before you’re hoping someone stabs him right in the face. He’s vile, and the audience would erupt with applause any time he got hurt. You’ve succeeded when everybody hates your villain.

Mary, Brendon and Mark are at the mercy of Bobby and his insanity.

Although James D’Arcy steals the show as the villain you love to hate, every other actor in the film does an equally impressive job. Alex Ferris and Quinn Lord are cast as the kids in the story, and while Lord does a good job, it’s Ferris as the demented son of Bobby who really stands out. Selma Blair and Joshua Close are fantastic as Mark and Mary, a couple trying to reconnect after the tragic death of their daughter. Mary drinks too much, but Blair underplays it so she doesn’t come off as a raging drunk the entire time. Mark is filled with pent up rage, and Close does a great job of pulling it off. Rachel Miner rounds out the cast as Jane, Bobby’s wife. Her character is probably the most awkward, and she’s strangely creepy, but a last act revelation doesn’t really stick with her, even if it explains some of her actions.

I rarely see a home invasion flick that I don’t enjoy, but In Their Skin is one of the better ones. Make sure to keep an eye open for this one.

Under the marquee – Will

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