This untypical coming-of-age tale described as “a child’s nightmare imagination” from first-time writer-director Philip Ridley went under the radar for years after its release in 1990 but has since resurfaced as a cult favourite.
Set in the desolate landscape of rural 1950s America, we see the world through the eyes of 8-year-old Seth as he waits for his brother to come home from the war. Dealing with an abusive mother at home, his childlike boredoms and curiosities lead him to become convinced his neighbour is a vampire.
Filled with surreal gothic imagery and macabre violence, and a visual language from cinematographer Dick Pope that takes cues from early Terrance Malick work like Days of Heaven, it’s a beautifully dark viewing experience.
With memorable turns from child actor Jeremy Cooper and a young Viggo Mortenson, The Reflecting Skin disturbingly deromanticizes rural America whilst also being a nightmarish interpretation of the childhood experience.