KNIVES AND SKIN is written and directed by Jennifer Reeder (Signature Move, “Crystal Lake”) and stars Marika Engelhardt (House of Purgatory, Come As You Are), Audrey Francis (“Empire,” Signature Move), and Tim Hopper (Vanilla Sky).
What happened to Carolyn Harper? Part suburban nightmare, part neon-soaked teenage fever dream, this tantalizing mystery traces the wave of fear and distrust that spreads across a small Midwestern town in the wake of a high school girl’s mysterious disappearance. As the loneliness and darkness lurking beneath the veneer of everyday life gradually comes to light, a collective awakening seems to overcome the town’s teenage girls—gathering in force until it can no longer be contained. Unfolding in a hallucinatory haze of lushly surreal images, Knives and Skin is a one-of-a-kind coming-of-age noir that haunts like a half-remembered dream.
Writer and Director Jennifer Reeder (Signature Move, “Crystal Lake”)”
Hi Jennifer, How are you?
Jennifer- I great, how are you doing?
I’m great thank you. Knives and Skin is such a great film. How did the idea manifest for you?
Jennifer- It was from a bunch of short films that I have made in the past five years. They are on my Vimeo page if anyone is curious. It is about the experience of adolescence girls and women, the idea of coming of age. I knew there was an audience for this kind of content. The image that came to me was a group of girls walking along a two lane, rural road. This idea of these girls being at odds in the environment. They are at a crossroads in their life.
Well, you did an amazing job. This film is colorful and vibrant. It’s as if that is a character itself.
Jennifer- Yes, that’s exactly what I set out to do. I wanted the production design to feel like it is part of the narrative content. That certainly includes the color palette and the lighting. I wanted the film to feel like it was vibrating with this girl power, sort of femme energy.
These characters are amazing. The actors did such a great job. What was it like working with this cast? How was the process for you and getting everybody prepared?
Jennifer- That’s a good question. It’s good to know that we cast the entire film out of Chicago. I live in Chicago. It was an entirely Chicago based crew and cast. Chicago has this vibrant and well respected theatre (www.steppenwolf.org/ ) community that trickled down to the high school. So we knew that we would be able to find some fantastic actors. The Steppenwolf Theatre is well known theatre company. Everybody in the film as well as having a lot of stage experience also has experience in front of the camera.
What are you working on next?
Jennifer- I am in development for another film. It is a coming of age, Cat People meets Fish Tank so it’s a teen shapeshifter film. It takes on this idea of, you know the way that we talk about sort of self-possessed girls often times is to call them wild or out of control. So, it’s this idea that what if a wild, out of control teen girl actually became wild and out of control and then eventually gains control of her shapeshifting ability and uses it for good. Its nuance and will be colorful like Knives and Skin. It is slightly more plot-driven, genre committed.
I love the movie Fish Tank. I don’t know if the Andrea Arnold film with Katie Jarvis and Kierston Wareing? I love that movie. It is a beautiful movie.
Jennifer- Oh, it’s one of my favorites as well. Yes, I absolutely was referring to the Andrea Arnold film. I think it’s a masterpiece.
When I was watching Knives and Skin, that movie did come to mind for me a few times. Knives and Skin is so beautifully done. This movie is one of the most unique films, I’ve seen in a long time. It is vibrant, fresh, these characters are great. The dark humor and light. It is great.
Jennifer- Oh, that is so good to know because I am sure you see a lot of movies.
What do you want to say to the people who will be watching Knives and Skin?
Jennifer- On the one hand I want people to relax and enjoy the show. Let the story and the visual environment kind of wrap around you. I feel like the film has a lot of dark humor so people should lean into that and giggle. Enjoy the musical numbers. It talks about female empowerment. Dive into that world and enjoy it. Spread the word.
I think that is important. We need to stick together and it was nice to see the supportive friendships in this film.
You did such an amazing job. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today for Horrornews.net
Jennifer- Thank you Janel.
@thejenniferreeder on Instagram
Watch KNIVES AND SKIN
Check out FISH TANK www.imdb.com/title/tt1232776/ if you haven’t seen it.
Jennifer Reeder – KNIVES AND SKIN www.imdb.com/title/tt8234892/