• Studio: A24
  • Release Date: Apr 4, 2014
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 149 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 30 out of 149

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  1. May 5, 2014
    3
    3 things I LOVE in a film: Stunning Visuals. Science Fiction. Scarlett Johansson. Given everything it had going for it I assumed an evocative story would be in store. I assumed wrong. So. So. So. Wrong. Next Stanley Kubrik? Please. This music video director needs to get over himself.
  2. Apr 21, 2014
    2
    Wow. Even Scarlett Johansson's nudity couldn't save this 'artistic' piece from the monotone drone of alternating silence and annoying buzzing to the entirely uninteresting and utterly forgetful character development of the lead. The director's failure to get you the least bit interested in the character's development is a fatal flaw which leaves you mired in one boring shot after another. Symbolic? Sure. Do you care at all? No. There is nothing gripping and it ends as disappointingly as it plods along from the beginning. People walked out and for good reason. I stayed because I hoped for redemption at the end. FAIL. Expand
  3. Apr 19, 2014
    10
    Oh my God. I was always excited for this film, but this is just above and beyond what I could have imagined. This film is not for everyone because it's so incredibly arthouse, but I honestly think that if people talked about the film, they'd see it in a new light.

    Virtually nothing here is meant to be taken literally; it's extremely symbolic. It's an allegorical trip that is haunting,
    intriguing, sublime, gorgeous, sad, different, strange, human, spellbinding, unforgettable, and masterful, utilizing all of these qualities that convey what it means to be a human. What is also is about, though, is reveling in the questions and finding answers.

    The cinematography is immaculate and the sound design is incredible. The score is mesmerizing and perfectly complements the visuals and tone of the film, with its strings and screechy sounds crossing into the realm of being sound effects at some points, and that's great because like the film, it brings together all senses and experiences into one odd package. Scarlett Johansson is intoxicating, doing so much with so little dialogue. She uses her eyes and facial expressions and callousness-turned-fake-charm so well, and you forget that you're watching an actress work because it's so immersive and shockingly realistic.

    I can see why some people would dislike this film because it is very alienating (no pun intended) and probably as far from mainstream as you can get, but it's also so engrossing. This is a film that gives no explanations and doesn't really have much of a setup that leads into a conflict that sets the movie into action in a traditional sense. It works wonderfully because the movie itself feeds off of our abilities - as humans - to interpret emotions and read other individuals. The movie even seems to be watching you back at times.

    Jonathan Glazer demonstrates that he has such a huge talent but also a great deal of discipline in order to make everything work. In the hands of another director, everything would have crumbled into pieces, but because it's so well-made, he makes connections between humanity and sexuality, objectification and death, and, to a certain extent, gender roles.

    The ending (without spoiling anything) both satisfies and leaves ample room for interpretation, and is very affecting. There is a good amount of emotion to this film, and it's just so commendable that a film like this could be so human and realistic. I can definitely see the comparisons to Kubrick (my favorite director ever) and I could compare this film to Eraserhead and 2001: A Space Odyssey, and partially to Eyes Wide Shut.

    This is a movie that I will never be able to forgot, and I know for a fact that I'll be thinking about it obsessively for a very long time. This may be one of my favorite films ever.

    9.7/10, masterful, two thumbs up, miles above average, etc.
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  4. Apr 19, 2014
    3
    Scarlett Johansson drives around in a van trying to pick up men, as some sort of otherworldy creature (probably alien) who lures them into a seductive death. For long stretches the most exciting thing she does is put on and take off her seatbelt. When she veers from her routine, the mystery of her existence is slowly peeled away, but never fully explained. Haunting, repetitive music and some interesting special effects add to the creepy scenario. There is a certain uniqueness in the direction that is compelling, but overall, this is mysterious minimalism at it's most tedious. Expand
  5. Apr 25, 2014
    1
    (-)Virtually no plot
    (-)Extremely boring
    (+)You get to see Scarlett Johansson naked (i.e., why it has a 1 instead of a 0)

    If you like movies like Tree of Life, you will like this movie, otherwise, avoid
  6. Apr 13, 2014
    4
    What a tease! The film presents an enigmatic premise and then drags its feet all the way to the conclusion, without ever letting us in on its secrets. I enjoy a quiet, contemplative movie, but there were so many long empty stretches and so few details that I found myself without much to contemplate.

    There's some great imagery and music, and a few fascinating glimpses of humanity through
    the eyes of an alien... But I found myself thinking more about the unusual production of the film than the vague narrative. In the end, it felt more like an over-extended short film than a fully-formed feature. Expand
  7. Jul 7, 2014
    5
    I don't remember the last time I walked out on a movie, even so this is not the case because I saw it all, however never did I have the before the urge of leaving the theater since 30 min in. This might be one of the worst movies I have even seen. If this were 70's sci-fi maybe I'd have given it a pass but now it just passed as pretentious BS. Don't lose your money or time in this.
  8. Apr 16, 2014
    4
    The film is not very interesting. It is boring to watch as things occur. When you wait until the end to think you have it figured out, you probably won't. It will lead to many discussions about what is was about and what it will lead to. Not a very fun film to view. One I will not watch when it make it to cable, or if it makes it.
  9. Apr 6, 2014
    1
    Heavily indebted to Kubrik, Roeg and Cunningham, but just boring really... let's all look at the underclass and stroke our beards as we pontificate what it all means - well I know, it means I just got ripped off £14. good music though so I gave it 1.
  10. Apr 7, 2014
    10
    A bonafide masterpiece, and I do not say such a thing lightly. The juxtaposition of Scarlett Johansson's haunting beauty and masterful performance in the titular role, set against the bleak Scottish landscape and the intolerable ease unto which she coaxes her prey, culminate in a film that chills to the absolute core. It's pacing deliberately ramps up the tension and this coupled with an unbearably horrifying score left me on an absolute knife edge. As many have stated, it is indebted to Roeg, Kubrick e.t.c. but not in an obvious postmodern, heart-on-sleeve approach; as much as it borrows Glazer innovates. It is shot beautifully, it's pacing is sheer frustrating perfection and it has seriously gotten under my skin. It's a long time since a film has effected me in such a way, and it has left me thinking about it for days and even now weeks after viewing. I, for one, consider this to be one of the best "science-fiction" films to have ever been produced. An agonising, terrifying but unmistakably beautiful film. Let me make this clear, this is a paradigm-shift for "science fiction" cinema. Brilliant filmmaking. Expand
  11. May 17, 2014
    0
    Terrible. It comes off like an attempt to gain some kind of cult film following, but it was the most painful 2 hours i've ever spent in a movie theater. Just not worth the watch, not even for Scarlet Johannson.
  12. Jul 20, 2014
    0
    If your only goal is to see Scarlet Johansson naked, then this is the film to watch as she is nude through 80% of it. However, don't expect real dialogue, an interesting storyline or a point to this film. Basically, a beautiful woman (alien in human form) drives around in a truck at night seducing dumb, horny men with superficial conversation. She takes them back to her house/cave and walks them into a black tar-like pit where they drown & are never heard from again. Repeat 10 times, the end. The only way this movie could have been worse is if it were a double-feature with Jake Gyllenhall's film "Enemy". So glad I didn't pay to see this mess in the theatre, but still bummed I wasted about a buck on it. I'll never get that dollar, or those 2 hours of my life back. :( Expand
  13. Jul 4, 2014
    10
    Under the Skin is a masterpiece; brilliantly directed by Jonathan Glazer and with Scarlett Johansson at her finest - the film is beautiful, entertaining, fun, disturbing, haunting and incredibly memorable. With a smart screenplay, great acting and a stellar production, Under the Skin is a film destined to bury itself into the mind of its viewers. One of the best films of the year thus far.
  14. May 10, 2014
    10
    There is absolutely no shame in not understanding this movie completely. But giving a low review score simply because of that fact is really a shame. This movie is visually outstanding, and I had just so much fun being able to engage with the non-linear story that didn't spoonfeed itself to me. Whoever thinks that Scarlett Johansson is a lightweight simply needs to see this film. The scene on the beach? One of the most chilling sequences I've ever seen in a film. Expand
  15. Apr 6, 2014
    9
    This film blows away the term "Cliche" and Glazers direction is top notch. It's a film you have to examine and think about, that has depth and purity. Moreover at times very scary and suspenseful. Johansson is brilliant.
  16. Apr 24, 2014
    10
    See this movie, worth every penny !! Fun to watch, and leaves you thinking way after the movie is over....With so many boring movies out there, this is one you have to see. See this in the movie theater , as the big screen really intensifies the surreal scenery.
  17. Apr 27, 2014
    6
    If I had to characterize this movie in two words, I would say, artsy and weird.
    It's a science fiction movie that takes place in nowadays Scotland.
    There is a small number of human-looking aliens that in some way consume humans but they try to be unnoticeable so they seek lonely people. The female (played by Scarlett Johansson) hunts for lonely but promiscuous men. Being attractive and
    sexy, she lures them to a remote house and then to their death. Those people are gone but nobody is looking for them. I assume that male aliens are similarly hunting for lonely human females. The movie makes you think what is it to be a human.
    Johansson is not only a very attractive woman but a very tented actress as well.
    But I do not expect this movie to become a crowd-pleaser.
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  18. Jun 26, 2014
    3
    I was really disappointed by this film. The trailer promised a lot more than it would eventually deliver. The comparisons with the works of Stanley Kubrick (whom I dislike) and Terrence Malick (whom I like) are ridiculous. I'd rather see this as more similar to David Lynch, though, again, comparison is ridiculous. The amateur look of the shots is not intentional, evidently: it's just this is an amateur film, only made with a lot of money and starring Scarlett Johansson; with all the flaws, the inexperience and the pretentiousness and none of the genuineness, the back-to-the-roots feel, or the love for film history an actual amateur film would feature.

    In conclusion, it's not worth it. The visuals are good, but they're used in all the wrong places for all the wrong reasons. In order to be symbolic, there would need to be symbols somewhere. There aren't. There are fetishes which appear to be symbols, but they are just put there to make you think they mean something. It's a trap. Don't fall for it. This gets a 3 because Scarlett Johansson is somewhat good, because at least they made the effort for an original score, and because I gave a 2 to "Gravity" which is still worse than this.
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  19. Apr 9, 2014
    8
    Whilst I found the ending somewhat flat and anti-climactic, the rest of the film is a unique joy. A visceral, erotic, stylish, creepy, and artful movie with fantastic direction, inspired use of hidden cameras and some suitable strange special effects. If you don't like to think at the movies, don't watch this. Go and watch Captain America or something instead.
    A weird joy
  20. Apr 25, 2014
    7
    I did not get it. Reading up on the movie after having seen it, there was a plot there, a character progression that I honestly did not follow as it was happening. To me, anyway, the movie was a pure sensory experience.

    Of course, Scarlett Johansson nudity will do that do you. And there is a lot; we're not talking one or two fleeting shots. Nor is the nudity restricted to one character;
    it's quite egalitarian.

    However, the film works as something more than pure erotica. Scotland doesn't sound interesting, but they shot the hell out of it for this film. There's very little dialogue throughout and only bursts of sound; you're just watching one main character set against scenery. In the end, it's a film that asks questions, not just the obvious one, "Would you follow a naked Scarlett Johansson to your death?" (yes, answers half the world), but also "What would an alien arriving on Earth make of us?" and "What's the difference between good and evil". Even if you don't catch all of the plot that is being nonverbally conveyed to you, there's enough going on to make this an effective cerebral sci-fi film.
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  21. Jun 27, 2014
    3
    Most of this film is Scarlett Johansson driving and walking (albeit often in underwear). ScarJo does a good job of portraying a creepy stalking alien but there's almost no plot which becomes obvious very quickly. Keep the remote close, because you'll be hitting fast forward a lot!
  22. May 15, 2014
    10
    Anyone wanting simple-minded, run-of-the-mill shallow plot and celebrity action will be disappointed. But if you appreciate a challenge, a visual masterpiece, with fascinating loose ends that will keep you thinking long after you see it ..... then this is for you. Suspend your need to analyze and understand everything, and let your imagination soar. This could become one of the true cult films, to join Blade Runner, 2001, and Alien, but with deeper and darker places to haunt you. There are THREE main stars: Johansen of course, in a role that expands her repertoir admirably, the Scottish wet/damp 'noir' background, and the mysteriously occult part of the story which will indeed work its way under your skin and remain with you especially when you cannot sleep late on a rany night. Expand
  23. Jul 28, 2014
    0
    That was like a torture. 80% of this film was standing still Scarlett Johansson, still images and boring driving scenes. I'll never buy a blu-ray disk by the combined metaciritic-user score (78 metaciritic and 6.9 user by now). if you like sci-fi movies, don`t watch it. If you like drama movies don`t watch it.
    - If you like nonsense and torture.
    - If you want to be the first person to
    like a movie that none of your friend liked before.
    - Or if you want to impress a person because you`ve watched a sci-fi - drama - art movie
    then even in this situations don`t watch.
    Read a detailed spoiler and just 50x fastplay, without sound watch it. First half of the film was a greater torture. I considered minimum 4 times quit watching and countless times fast forwarding (That was first time in my life). God please help me to forget this experience. What a waste of time
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  24. Jun 26, 2014
    10
    What a remarkable film. Unconventional to the extremes and plays on our human emotions with such deeply disturbing visuals, not to mention the incredible score and soundscapes. This movie is unforgettable and is a very important step in modern expressionism within the parameters of film.
    A movie this bold is obviously not everyone's cup of tea... but i'm excited to see where Jonathan
    Glazer will go from here.
    Also, props to Scarlett's incredible performance.
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  25. Aug 1, 2014
    0
    My mind is absolutely blown by the positive reviews of this insufferable movie. When I read the positive reviews from some folks saying, "Nothing happens in this movie," I thought great, I'll probably love it, as I loved the Tree of Life by Terrence Mallick. No I don't need a plot, no I don't mind a slow movie, yes, I love an elusive movie.

    This is some of those things but so, so much
    less! People seem to be satisfied with, wonderful shots, such as the child on the beach. "That was a unique shot." To them I say SO WHAT!? Go to a gallery then to stare at some wonderful photographs or paintings. I don't mind lack of narrative, but this movie has lack of interest, lack of anything. No, you don't have to be a Hollywood movie lover to "not get" this movie or to never want to watch it again, or to recommend it to no one. Expand
  26. Jul 26, 2014
    10
    Yes, that is a 10 rating. Why? Because it is refreshing to see a film that relies on the exercising of our cerebrums rather than satisfying the "lizard" parts of our brain with non-stop action, gratuitous sex, and over-the-top CGI animation. Ironically, it is exactly that older, basic part of our brain to which the hapless victims in this film succumb, lured by the de-glammed and striking natural beauty of Scarlett Johansson, an apparent alien known to the viewers and her prey as "Laura." At times both mesmerizing and repulsive, Laura is both succubus and protagonist as we ride this existential roller-coaster to a surprising yet oddly appropriate conclusion. I will admit that your average sci-fi addict may find this film a bit to "artsy," but this movie is much more than a science fiction about aliens who have developed a fondness for human flesh tartare (a far too common theme). This film is more of a mirror reflecting back a sobering view of the human condition, both at its worst and at its best.

    When the film starts as a small point of light in the distance surrounded by total darkness, growing ever larger until it is large enough to morph into what appears to be a surreal image of birth, then followed by a transformation into an eclipse and then a human pupil and iris. The accompanying musical score is both irritating and eerie, a combination that makes the viewer edgy and fixated on the imagery. I couldn't help but immediately think of certain scenes from Stanley Kurbrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," a stylistic homage not lost on many viewers and critics, it seems. Next we see a fully safety-suited motorcyclist (the suit almost reminds one of a space garment) retrieve the body of a young woman (Scarlett Johansson) from what appears to be a ditch on the side of the road. The next scene is of this body placed on a lighted floor being stripped by a naked woman (also Ms. Johansson) who then puts on her clothes just as we see a single tear coming from the left eye and running down the cheek of the newly naked woman on the floor. The alien woman (but is she really a woman?) now has the appearance of the doomed female on the floor. From this point forward, "Laura" drives about Glasgow in a white, windowless van selecting her prey (young men) like an urban-camouflaged jaguar. She feigns being lost, a ploy that allows her to interview various men on the street, making sure they meet the right profile (young, strong, single, childless, live alone), then seductively offers them a ride that ends horribly for each victim who passes through the entry way to her home. Once inside, the seductive dance continues as Laura, well ahead of her duped would-be lover, continues to strip in an endless dark space covered by a jet-black, shining floor. Her amorous suitors, following entranced, also de-cloth, and soon the floor turns into black liquid that engulfs each one, at which point Laura gathers up her discarded apparel on what to her is a still solid floor. At one point the director allows us to see the fate that awaits those who become encased in this pool, and it is one of the most horrific scenes in cinematic history, and also where we learn one of the meanings of the film's title .

    Ultimately, the huntress Laura lures a facially disfigured man into her inescapable liquid web, but then allows him to leave even after he becomes submerged, the first evidence of compassion exhibited by the alien (As an illustration of just how devoid of compassion these visitors can be, in an earlier scene, Laura is chatting up a foreign surfer on the beach as a woman tries to save her drowning dog from the raging surf, her husband then tries to save her, then finally the surfer tries to save the husband, but fails, only to wash up on the beach to be clubbed over the head by Laura and dragged off to her van, as the family's infant is left crying, now alone on the beach. The abandoned child is still there, hours later, when the motorcycle man shows up to clean up the crime scene, completely ignoring the child.). After letting the one man escape (her act of mercy later thwarted by the motorcycle driver), something changes, leaving Laura in a semi-catatonic state, abandoning her van and wandering aimlessly through Glasgow and into the country side where a well-meaning man takes here in and tries to nurse her back to health. It is at this point she seems to awaken to the fact that humans are more than haute cuisine. It is also following this epiphany that she is exposed to both the best and worst aspects of human behavior, the final consequences of the latter that lead to her demise.

    I found this movie refreshing, chilling, artistically brilliant, and thought provoking. Scarlett Johansson was the perfect combination of feline seductress and passionless, other-worldly entity that slowly transforms into confused catatonia as she begins to develop empathy for her former prey.
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  27. Aug 2, 2014
    0
    The whole move is a complete disappointment for me. It starts slow, and I would say it ends slow, but there really isn't much of an ending. But whatever it does in the final minutes of the movie, it does that slow as well.

    I understand that many people see much that is deep visually and metaphorically, but lets be real. This movie was not about entertainment. I don't know what anyone
    saw in any scene to be called "beautiful" or when exactly the plot was "mindblowing" because it simply never did anything for me.

    The plot was simple, unoriginal. The music was fitting (I guess) since it matched the movie's content (of which there was very little). Now while I do like many of the modern action films full of explosions, I also really love anything that makes me think. This one only made me think of why I bothered sitting through this entire movie. Again, nothing was visually all that appealing. Special effects at times reminded me either of a movie made in the 60s or 70s or perhaps just a super crappy 80s B movie.

    Bash modern films as you will, but they were certainly much more appealing visually than this one. Personally there was more depth to the script, the visuals, the effects, the story, the everything in a movie like Transformers (gasps all around), and I only watch those movies to watch explosions! I don't even expect good acting or good stories out of the Transformer movies, but wow they really beat up on Under the Skin in every conceivable way.

    I guess if you want an awkward movie that is predictable, that gives you nothing, that makes you consider sleeping or turning it off, look no further because it's here.
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  28. Apr 30, 2014
    7
    I haven't been this conflicted by a film in quite a while. I also haven't thought about a film this much after seeing it in a while either.

    There were moments during Under the Skin where I found myself completely awestruck by what I was seeing and hearing (the sublime beginning sequence for example). I sensed big existential questions being conjured meticulously through sound and
    image. There were also moments where almost nothing was happening, and the seconds felt like minutes. It just seemed it was stretched a bit thin a times.

    I do believe there is greatness within this film, but I'd be lying if I said I felt that way throughout the it's entirety. If you're feeling adventurous, give this one a go.
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  29. May 17, 2014
    8
    Provocative and eerie, introspective and philosophically challenging, this movie is not for the intellectually languid. Go watch a Spielberg film if you want to be lead by the nose, because this ain't ET. The story is unsettling and doesn't finish with everything tied in a nice bow with good guys and bad guys neatly sorted out, exposition rising action and denouement . The film looks at earthlings existence through alien eyes, and forces us to really look at ourselves as a biologist would. Showing Humans to be aliens even to ourselves. Expand
  30. Jul 6, 2014
    8
    Substantially an unorthodox extraterrestrial tall-tale from UK nonconformist Jonathan Glazer, UNDER THE SKIN is his long-waited third feature after SEXY BEAST (2000) and BIRTH (2004, 6/10) and it is truly worth the wait. Glazer composes sublime visual accomplishments and accurate location scouting to counterbalance the linear narrative happenings, which almost can be bracketed as a silent film if we can exclude all the pickup chitchat (barely accessible thanks to the thick Scottish accent).
    continue reading my review on my blog: google cinema omnivore, thanks
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  31. Aug 3, 2014
    0
    Besides the fact the movie made absolutely no sense, there were scenes were literally nothing was happening. The silence throughout the movie begins to grow painful and combine that with a monotonous pace and horrible images and you have one of the worst movies of the year.
  32. Jul 25, 2014
    8
    Artistically brilliant. This will become a cult film whose reputation will rise in the years ahead. There are some stunning scenes, particularly the one involving the ocean. The film maintains the essence of the book yet makes its own way. Kudos to the director and Johansson for such brave choices. A great film.
  33. Jun 28, 2014
    10
    i was pulled in from the opening sequence. visually stunning. the scoring of this film was perfect: eerie, weird, and unsettling. scarlett johansson was perfection. the amount of control she had was mesmerizing. this was art.
  34. Jul 29, 2014
    10
    My favourite film so far this year. The atmosphere is creepy, tense and disturbing. It says a huge amount with elegance and economy. It forces the viewer to think and evaluate, come to their own conclusions and (probably) fill in the gaps with their own fears and short-comings. I should also mention that the soundtrack is perfectly fitting.
    I would not recommend the film for people who
    enjoy the usual Hollywood fare of spectacle and explosion. If you enjoyed movies like those of Andrei Tarkovsky, you will love this. Scarlett Johansson is once again beguiling and stunning. An amazing movie! Expand
  35. Apr 5, 2014
    10
    Did this director forget we had watched Aliens 1, 2, 3, and so on plus Nymphomaniac Vol 1 & 2. Scarlett didn't had opportunity to show her SKIN in CA:TWS, so they made a 'SPECIAL' movie for her named UNDER SCARLETT's SKIN.
  36. Jul 20, 2014
    3
    This is not a film but rather a collection of abstract scenes. The plot devices and attempts at narrative feel shoehorned and out of place. The characters are hollow, wooden, boring. Johanssen's performance seems absurd as she bounces between charismatic dialogue and robotic set-pieces. This is a disappointment. A film that seethes with potential but never delivers.

    - x
  37. Jul 13, 2014
    10
    I'm astonished. This movie is literally like nothing I've ever seen. Scarlett Johansson gives a performance like nothing she's ever done. While it's not considered one, this is one of the greatest horror movies that I've ever scene. I've never had nightmares about a movie or T.V. show I've watched since I was eight years old. But the best thing in this movie is by far the music. I didn't even know you could make music like this. Under the Skin is an instant classic. See it. Now. NOW! Expand
  38. Jul 4, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I took mom to see Under The Skin yesterday. Aside from the explicit sexual themes, disturbing imagery and nearly wordless plot progression, bringing mom was a good idea. After all, she’s into a good sci fi flic, likes Scarlet Johansson, and she enjoys wrestling the kind of difficult, challenging ideas put forth in this film. Plus the promise of gorgeous views of the Scottish countryside really paid off, which was perhaps what mom liked most.
    What mom didn’t like were actually the things I did. This film allegorically describes and criticizes male and female relations, focusing on how women are driven to treat men brutally. The film is a visual metaphor, criticizing ruthless femininity, oppressive institutional forces, sex and beauty as power, as well as the restoration of femininity and our humanity.
    This film’s ideas and plot are moved along almost entirely without dialogue. It might be tough for some viewers to follow this story told through images, but I’m sure it’s even more challenging to tell a tale in this way. This film, however, does this almost flawlessly and one feels led by capable hands in this regard. Many of the scenes not only move the overt story forward efficiently, but also engage the audience to consider the films sub -text, which revolves around issues of gender relations in our society. The story and characters are therefore a means by which to discuss these difficult matters, things which people rarely talk about. Its lack of dialogue might almost be viewed as saying, “social discourse rarely touches on such things…” This film, then is the best kind of sci- fi, because its ideas are relevant for our use today, and is commenting on important human themes.
    The film opens with an unknown man stopping his motorcycle in night, walking down to beach and retrieving a lifeless female body. He deposits it into a van, and in the following scene, Scarlett’s character is seen assuming the identity of this lifeless woman by removing the body’s clothes. This turns out to be symbolic of removal of the body’s skin as well, because we find out that Scarlett’s character is an Extra Terrestrial, who uses the guise- and skin- of a beautiful young woman to do her job. Her object on earth? Seduce single, young men from the open window of her van, in the night , bring them back to her abode, coax them to follow her across the magical, mirror-like, watery floor of her bedroom until these men are submerged and disappear. Once the victim is submerged, she puts her clothes back on and goes back to work.. Three men into this ritual, we see the awful fate of the victims: their insides are sucked out from them, leaving only the skin, with their innards shipped off to somewhere….
    This horror, we come to discover, are guided at least in part by the crotch- rocket man. His influence is not fully understood until the beautiful female ET accidently picks up an ugly man to bring to his doom. Upon receiving the ugly man, however, the spell of ruthlessness and murder is broken, because she feels the humanity of this character. She has compassion for him. Unlike the others she seduced, who were out partying and having fun, this man is walking at night to buy groceries, simply hoping to avoid the hateful judgment of others. Though he is grossly deformed, she comments on how nice his hands are and the man begins to weep. Ruthless devotion to her intent is destroyed by this man’s innocence, ugliness and humanity. Coaxed to the watery pit, she frees him suddenly. Thus begins her journey to restoration.
    Because she spares this man from her deadly pursuit, the crotch rocket man now chases her. She cannot be allowed to stop being ruthless, let alone pity someone who is ugly and outcast from the brutal game of beauty and power. She must not find her own, and others’ humanity. She escapes into the beautiful Scottish country, and the wild interior of her own nature. She is taken in by a kind man who makes her dinner and invites her into his home. They go for a walk, and one beautiful image is of this man carrying the ET across a large puddle, evoking the haunted, watery mirror which she used to destroy the men she met in the past. They go back to his house and they eat. Upstairs, he kisses her and they begin to have sex. When her hymen breaks, she recoils, unprepared for the pain and vulnerability of her humanity. Fleeing, she takes refuge in a cabin in the forest. After being lulled to sleep by the endless span of nature, like a baby in a womb, she awakens suddenly, remembering the peril she is in because of the crotch -rocket man. Running, she finds an empty logging truck, tries to steal it but is seen by its driver, who chases and then attempts to rape her. Through this assault, her shell is ripped and the man staggers back, horrified by the sight of her true inside. He runs off and as she walks away, the rest of her false skin falls off. Now the ET is fully revealed: Dark, feminine, beautiful, strange…unspeakable. As she looks down and comes to see this part of herself, the trucker has returned and murders her. Her wild, interior nature is certainly not allowed to live…only devotion to the brutal game of falseness and exteriority can survive. She is left a smoking char in the snow after being burnt alive.
    This last sequence of events demonstrates the power of the allegorical nature of this film. The idea that women are driven- through male-dominated, institutional forces- to carelessly seduce and even to destroy men is difficult and nearly unspeakable. Scarletts’ ET is initiated into a state of compassion, humanity and the interiority of her being, the one thing that cannot survive.
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  39. Jul 16, 2014
    3
    Well, 95% of the people out there are not going to like this at all. They beat you over the head with their ham-handed attempt to be artsy drawing out monotonous scenes way beyond the point where you "get it" to the point where you press the fast forward button... alot. That will be how you'll watch this, finger never leaving the fast-forward button. Unless you are stoned... then you might not notice you've been staring at a dot on the screen for 15 minutes, or looking at someone sitting in their vehicle doing NOTHING for 5- 10 minutes for the 5th time. Fast-forward is your friend.

    I'm giving it a 3 for these reasons, Scarlett Johansson takes her close off a lot (+2 initially then -1 for somehow making that monotonous), its science fiction (+2 but taking a point back after reading about the book it was based on and realizing they've ruined any chance of ever getting to see a decent movie based on that premise), and I'll give them another point for using actors that didn't initially know they were in a movie. Again, this is something I didn't know when I sat down to watch it but after reading up on the production, I thought that was worthy of a point for initiative and an uncommon approach to filming a sci fi movie.

    It might have made a really good short film of about 20 minutes or less, but utterly fails as a feature film. They just really obviously had to stretch out the monotony to drag things out to the number of minutes they felt they needed. Watch the first 5 minutes. Turn it off. If you still feel compelled to watch it, you'll probably be in that 5% that likes to be hypnotised or something. The rest of you will thank me for the hour and a half or so of your lives I've just saved you. I'll split the difference with you and you can send me what a couple hours of your time is worth to my PayPal account.
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  40. Jul 17, 2014
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I'm glad Peter Bradshaw (a critic I've sometimes found irritating) gave this 5 stars in The Guardian. It's a remarkable film. Though I don't think it's particularly scary, it is certainly disturbing and has that claustrophobic quality of nightmare, both sluggish and speeded-up at the same time. It reminded me of The Man Who Fell to Earth but is, I think, much more interesting. To quote Bradshaw's review:

    "Between encounters, she roams, gazing at streetscapes, and making them alien with that gaze – like a Craig Raine poem. At one stage, she and her van are surrounded by guys with Celtic scarves. She is the ultimate Rangers supporter."

    Nice to see Raine get a nod, though I don't know if I completely agree with the comparison. One of the intentions of 'Martian' poetry was to render the ordinary exotic and strange (a kind of embossment of what most good poems usually do). In a way, the first part of Under The Skin does just the opposite. The alien gaze flattens and greys out everything, making street-scenes, etc. look even more boringly flat and grey (perhaps Glazer's main reason for choosing Glasgow). And it's the relentless accumulation of such scenes, and they way they contrast with other aspects of the film, that alerts one to the fact that the artlessness is quite deliberate (if you're disposed to attaching labels, 'postmodern' will do very nicely).

    Also, I'm very surprised Bradshaw's review didn't mention one of the most compelling things about Glazer's film, his use of guerilla camerawork and 'casting': the encounters between Johansson's alien and the random men she chats up is given a generous dollop of reality because they were being filmed secretly and had no idea they were taking part in a sci-fi movie. Each one had to be (literally) chased down after the scene so that he could sign the release form. Apparently about half of them refused, including one poor guy who understandably took fright at being pursued down a backstreet by some looney waving a piece of paper. Maybe that's part of what Bradshaw meant when he said 'the film comes with a dog-whistle of absurdist humour', though I would have thought that most people were by now aware of this aspect of the film (one of its selling points as far as I'm concerned).

    I had some quibbles, mostly regarding the initial impressions of the alien's lair with its tarry, carnivorous floor. It seemed too slick and pop-video for my taste, but be patient; it does, rather horrifically, redeem itself later.

    Plot-wise, not a whole lot happens and the story, such as it is, is pretty grim. As The Blair Witch Project divided audiences, slicing a clean line between those who loved or hated it, so will Under The Skin. But there wasn't much need to hunt for vein in my case. It got right in there.
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  41. Jul 19, 2014
    8
    An enigmatic and thought provoking film. If you don't read a plot synopsis, you may end up with so many disturbing images, you'll turn off to the film! So beware, this is a Art-Horror Sci-Fi masterpiece. From the beginning images, reminiscient of the final hallucinations of "2001: A Space Oddessy," to the beginning musical score that was taken from the same movie's choral ensemble’s, this is an epic! The cinematography is spell binding, the Scottish landscape is mesmerizing, Scarlet is hypnotizing. Do you stare at her nude body? You, like the other characters, can't help yourself. Aided by a space (motorcycle racing) suit clothed associate, tearing accross stretches of the planet's terrain, Scarlet gets to glimpse human touch. An erotic experience is guaranteed. I had flashbacks and silent, visual, disturbed dreams that night. Dream-like pretty much sums it up. Expand
  42. Aug 10, 2014
    5
    Under the Skin was generally disappointing, but if you don't mind watching a movie that gets really confusing and never explains anything it might fit your taste.

    The visual aspects of the film were nice, but the overall composition and artistic direction were mild at best. That said, it did provide some thought provoking perspectives on male and female relations.
  43. Jul 17, 2014
    4
    This was one of the worst Sci Fi movies I have seen, and I LOVE Sci Fi! I waited for months for this to come out on DVD because it wasn't playing anywhere around where I live, and now I know why. I gave it a 4 instead of a 2 only because of Scarlett J. She is the only good part of the movie because she is so beautiful and sexy (so if you are a Scarlett fan it is worth seeing). It seemed like the slow, dreary pace would all be worth it when it explained itself in the end, but this movie didn't even try to, which made me angry for wasting my time on it. I do like odd, cultish movies (like Rocky Horror Picture Show , John Waters movies, etc.) but this really missed the mark. If the ending had wrapped things up, I could have forgiven the slow pace and often boring scenes, but it didn't. A horrible, very disappointing ending for several reasons. Expand
  44. Aug 24, 2014
    10
    I saw this movie and initially liked it very much but became concerned because it overlooked some obvious problems with the narrative especially towards the end where 1) somehow the ugly man escapes, and 2) something scares her in the cabin in the woods. The more I think about it, though, these details do not matter. The viewer is given room to think for themselves and I appreciated the opportunity to fill in the gaps myself. Most of the movie provides enough information to draw general conclusions and powerful emotions. Some people will hate it because this is a sensual rather than a narrative experience. People expect stories and this is more like an out of body experience. I found it fascinating. I learned things about people, about humanity. We are good. We are lustful. We are kind. We are ugly. We are stupid. We are beautiful. We are tragic.

    I will give a positive rating to any movie that is unforgettable. Or a movie that can change the way I see humanity. I think the scene where she leaves the baby on the beach will stay with me forever. And the conversation she has with the ugly man and her decision to run away after his escape. These scenes were powerful, logical, and downright fascinating. I can’t stop thinking about this movie.

    It was disturbing to see humanity through the lens of this thing that walked among us in such a friendly city. That she was looking for lonely men made her less despicable. That she attempted to fit in for a while and try to live among us was both charming and pathetic. What happened at the end of the movie made sense, because she didn’t fit in. She was objectified by men… brought out the worst in most (but the best in others).

    Art is left up for interpretation, and I think this qualifies. People will either hate or love this movie. It was too over-simplified to mask its deficits with confusing b.s. … it did not attempt to hide its flaws. It was deliberately made this way, whether you liked it or not. I liked it better than most movies i have ever seen. It gave me new insights. It got under my skin.
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  45. Aug 22, 2014
    2
    I've watched and enjoyed movies like rubber, anti-christ and even kung pow:fist of legend but this? I just couldn't get into it at all. I think you have to make up your own story since there isn't one here...is she an alien? a demon? a witch maybe? take your pic and run with it because i guess that's the point! she spends most of the movie driving around trying(and occasionally succeeding) to pick up guys,takes them to her.....home? dark void? black abyss filled with water maybe? heck if i know, but i do know that once these poor souls went in, they never returned for you see, they willingly(hypnotized? their body was numb once they entered her home and couldn't feel the water....maybe?) walked into the water and....well, they didn't drown but instead, had their skin taken, actually, all of their organs were removed and only the skin remained. At first i was wondering why she (it?) was killing since theirs seems to be no apparent reason but later i assumed "it" needed the skin of men but the last 25+ minutes of the movie has her(it?) roaming around aimlessly, riding buses, not being able to have sex for some strange reason,almost getting raped,getting gas thrown on her only to die a fiery death in a snow filled forest...... this movie just sucked since you havent the slightest idea of what's happening in front of you, it's like the director said....hey we'll just roll with it and hope the audience gets it! I just couldn't get into it, i just couldn't like this movie at all. 2/10 Expand
  46. Aug 9, 2014
    2
    There are people that dig this style of weird, mostly silent, long-scene film and there are those like me, that don't. If you're going to use this style, which taxes the hell out of one's attention, then there has to be a big payoff of some sort, and that's what this lacked. Hence, it's mostly a waste of your time. I'd wager reading the source material would be better.
  47. Aug 5, 2014
    6
    If you just roll with it, it is intriguing and kind of fun. However, there were just too many moments of sheer nothingness that detracted from this otherwise good movie.
  48. Aug 18, 2014
    9
    Personally, I Wont Take The Path Of Pretentious Criticism & Multivariate Jargon, But I Want To Point That the movie is radiant example of contemporary cinema, away from the typical sci-fi manifestations, and even from recent cinematic expression in its totality.

    If u want good, creative, inspiring cinema please do ur self a favour and watch the movie. If u want something else, widely
    approachable and easily "consumable" I suggest you better tune ur self to Godzilla, or Transformers. Have fun what ever u choose. Expand
  49. Jul 20, 2014
    7
    Perhaps what makes this movie riveting is that you are constantly asking “What the?” Piecing together the puzzle was half the fun (the seduction was understandable) and the other half was watching Laura (Scarlett Johannson) grow more complex and join the rest of us in trying to figure things out. With a movie both as realistic and surrealistic as this one, the director has to be brilliant to hold your attention – and for me Glazer does. Expand
  50. Jul 15, 2014
    7
    I can understand the split opinions on this film for me it was unique with some very chilling moments backed up with a score that is pitch perfect. While not a masterpiece still a real interesting film. B+
  51. Apr 19, 2014
    8
    Once again I write to show my total love and devotion for Scarlett Johansson. She is truly turning into a profound artist in the leagues of an Isabelle Huppert or Juliette Binoche. Actors who are more interested in making art, saying something about the human condition, experimenting with truly amazing filmmakers. Everything they do may not be perfect but it is wildly ambitious, requiring a level of commitment few artists ever achieve.

    Case in point--UNDER THE SKIN. Voracious, beautifully shot and directed. Johansson is given very little to do. In fact there really is no "acting" here but she is the center of the film. She is the film. A kind of central void, acting as a mirror to the ugliness of mankind. The message of UNDER THE SKIN seems to be: time for us to go. Man should die and disappear from our banal and nasty existences.

    Johansson brings nothing and everything to this film. A film which ultimately disappoints by trying to be too much like an early Nic Roeg film, then suddenly very modern and then, just like Glazer's other two films--SEXY BEAST and BIRTH--too full of explanations to even be like a copy of a 70s film. But he is talented. The film is ambitious and stunningly made. The cinematography by Daniel Landin displays what is now possible in filmmaking and the music from Mica Levi is too perfect to describe. Truly sublime compositions.

    But again, it is all about Scarlett. Giving so much and nothing. Proving what "personality" can be. She is a blank projection in UNDER MY SKIN and utterly perfect. An amazing sort of performance by a true artist consistently searching for new heights.
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  52. Jun 26, 2014
    8
    muy buena pelicula si te gusta la ciencia ficion si no ni lo intentes pocos dialogos y lo bueno es que te va llebando a diferentes ecenarios de una forma muy agradable.
  53. Aug 23, 2014
    10
    Wow, this is a diamond in the rough.
    First off, this film is obviously not for everyone. The pace of the film is very slow to start off, and the very uncomfortable and creepy atmosphere will either scare some viewers away, or bore them. But if you stick with this all the way through, things become much clearer (keeping in mind the opening scene (pay close attention)). I won't spoil
    anything, but this is both a sci-fi and horror masterpiece in my opinion, and will stay in your mind for quite some time. I really hope this film gets some sort of recognition, because it definitely deserves it. Give this one a chance. Expand
  54. Jul 2, 2014
    8
    Under the skin isn't exactly the masterpiece people have been calling it but its definetly a peice of art in its own way and has a lot of really great imagery to be seen as well as a great performance from its lead, I would definetly recommend this film to movie goers but other then that I don't think main stream movie goers would really appreciate this work of art and its complexity.
  55. Jun 27, 2014
    9
    Like Welles’ The War of the Worlds and other iconic science fiction entertainment offerings – from films like The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and The Matrix to TV shows like Star Trek and Doctor Who - Under the Skin is a seminal entry in the genre. Like those iconic entries, this film sets a new standard of excellence in the genre. And like those iconic entries, this film will be talked about for decades to come. Expand
  56. Jul 21, 2014
    5
    Creepy little movie with a Big Star Scarlett Johansson, she rides around in a Van picking up men then takes them to a weird little shack where they sink and die, like quicksand... it's boring ... and very slow, kind of interesting though... as at the end she sheds her skin as it were....

    If you're not an Intellectual you'll hate this...

    Based on a book by Michel Faber.
  57. Jul 27, 2014
    10
    This will split the community into those expecting the Nude-Avengers and those seeking esoteric Arthouse. It belongs firmly in the latter and is top-line. Johansson shows again what she is capable of when given the opportunity to develop a character (see Lost in Translation).

    With little dialogue, the interactions of the characters are intensified into a choreography and the story,
    itself almost banal, is just a space in which to dance. There will not be a sequel and both sides of the community will be grateful, but for very different reasons. Expand
  58. Aug 18, 2014
    7
    Enigmatic, slow, repetitive film, but at least offers a bit of a "surprise" at the end. Yet after watching the film I wondered if it was even worth trying to figure it out. Wish Johansson had saved the nude scenes for a better film. Anyway, what does it all mean? One possible clue, I think, lies in a very brief, but pointed mention of the upcoming Referendum for Scotland and the possibility of independence from England. When considering who the characters are and the plot, this wider political context made sense to me. So, for me the film is a parable about the shedding of a colonial power for national independence. Interesting how "woman" figures in such anti-colonial narratives. But your guess is as good as mine! Expand
  59. Aug 22, 2014
    7
    Spoiler alert: quite intentional that Scarlett Johansson would be cast as the otherworldly predator sent to capture human men. She is such a stunning example of the human female form, that there would be no need for extraterrestrial powers. Her naked body (displayed at length in the movie) is all that's necessary to get the average heterosexual male to follow her anywhere. : )

    Now on
    to the review. For those who are fans of the Faber novel - on which this movie is based - don't expect to know what in the hell the book is all about. I had to look up the Cliff notes. The movie is a stylistic, art house, abstract adaptation of the book. Sort of like a trip to the MoMA rather than the Met. Is you're in the mindset...you'll enjoy it. It's well acted, well written and generally well put together. Thought provoking, powerful imagery are the strongest points of the movie. Overall, a memorable piece of film worth watching. Expand
  60. Aug 23, 2014
    7
    I don't know what I watched, I fell asleep while watching it. Though I remember a lot of "buzz" sound which made me extremely sleepy over the movie. Good thing I also waked up when the film started to actually play what it was playing so let's see.
    Firstly I need to say that this movie IS artistic. Being very VERY weird. The storyline is not a storyline, the characters are not characters
    and so long! Actually; the characters aren't very detailed. May that Scarlett Johnson played in this movie as the main character, this didn't make the movie better. It was a very creepy movie some times or rather boring at the start. The soundtrack is the part of the creepiness and also the idea. The storyline is also not very detailed but very well placed and I liked, to be honest, it's idea. Not a very good movie, a short one but a rather fascinating one. I don't know if this should be like a recommending review but it's your choice. Expand
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 42
  2. Negative: 3 out of 42
  1. 63
    All this is initially fascinating, and then progressively less so. The problem is the usual serial-killer issue – things, no matter how weird and kinky, get repetitive.
  2. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Apr 18, 2014
    88
    A deeply creepy and mysterious noir.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Apr 18, 2014
    80
    Under the Skin is, in short, a film that does just that: gets under one's skin, shining a light on what it means to be human -- even if what we end up seeing is something less than comforting.