Skinamarink: everything we know about the viral horror

Skinamarink promo photo: a boy sat on the floor facing away from the camera
Skinamarink has become a social media hit - but why has it got audiences terrified? (Image credit: IFC Midnight / Shudder)

Skinamarink has become a social media hit in recent weeks, with everyone raving about the independent horror movie that was made on a budget of just $15,000. But why are people so freaked out?

The movie was directed by Canadian filmmaker Kyle Edward Ball and is a feature-length adaptation of his short Heck which follows a young boy that is trapped inside his home and unable to locate his mother. 

It's generated a lot of buzz online, and Kyle revealed the story was inspired by the tropes that popped up in the most commonly submitted nightmare to his YouTube channel Bitesized Nightmares.

In an interview, he told Deadline Hollywood: "I'd had a nightmare when I was little. I was in my parents' house, my parents were missing, and there was a monster. And lots of people have shared this exact same dream."

Here's everything you need to know...

Skinamarink release date

Skinamarink was released on July 25, 2022 at Fantasia Fest. As of January 13, 2023 it is starting to get a general release, with screenings in North America and limited ones in the UK.

Independent London venue The Prince Charles Cinema has screenings of Skinamarink in January 2023, but wider ones have not yet been confirmed.

Streaming-wise, it's available on AMC Networks' horror service Shudder, if you can't get to see it in the cinema. 

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Skinamarink plot

Skinamarink children sat in front of the TV

(Image credit: IFC Midnight)

The film's title is inspired by the preschool sing-along song from North America, as it focuses on two young children, but don't be fooled because the premise is far from happy!

The official synopsis is: "Two children wake up in the middle of the night to find their father is missing, and all the windows and doors in their home have vanished. To cope with the strange situation, the two bring pillows and blankets to the living room and settle into a quiet slumber party situation. 

"They play well-worn videotapes of cartoons to fill the silence of the house and distract from the frightening and inexplicable situation. All the while in the hopes that eventually some grown-ups will come to rescue them. However, after a while, it becomes clear that something is watching over them."

Skinamarink cast

The movie has a very small, unknown cast which adds to the eerie realism of the project. Many people have compared it to The Blair Witch Project due to its low budget, scarily real feel.

Jaime Hill plays the mom character, Ross Paul is the dad, and child actors Lucas Paul stars as Kevin and Dali Rose Tetreault as Kaylee.

The horror has gained popularity on social media sites like TikTok and Twitter, with people sharing images and short clips of the scariest moments in the film. As a result, it's got everyone talking and most notably, terrified of a child's toy phone!

If you want to avoid any spoilers, don't take a look at the social media tags but if you are curious there's a lot out there for you to uncover. It might give you nightmares though, don't say we didn't warn you.

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Is there a trailer?

There sure is, and it's a very creepy one! It doesn't give much away but there's a strange voiceover and shots of the children in the house, including disturbing images of children's toys in strange places like on the ceiling.

The footage is very grainy, often hard to make out and lingers for a while, making it nightmare fuel for a lot of audiences. Watch it below, if you dare...

Lucy Buglass
Senior Staff Writer

Lucy joined the WhatToWatch.com team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.


She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress