Thanks to classic nineties sci-fi Species, in which Natasha Henstridge played a beautiful alien-human hybrid out to reproduce by enticing and sleeping with men, the bar for movies about sexy murderous alien seductresses has been set pretty high. Ready to place a new offering on the table, however, is director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast) in his first feature film since 2004’s uncomfortable mystery drama Birth.
Under the Skin stars Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers) as a very different kind of Black Widow: an alien temptress who picks up male hitchhikers on the remote roads of Scotland and lures them to their deaths with the promise of sex. An interesting but confusing teaser trailer arrived a few weeks ago and an extended trailer has now joined it, showing a little more (though not much) of Under the Skin‘s plot and protagonist.
What the trailer doesn’t do is give away too much of what happens in Under the Skin, though that may be because the film is simply too weird to give an accurate summary of. The reviews coming out of the Toronto International Film Festival have labelled it everything from from “laughably bad” (The Independent) to “gorgeous” and “hypnotic” (HitFix), but amidst the mixed responses there are generally too constants: that Johansson is very good in the role, and that the movie is pretty light on actual narrative.
Obviously some of the interest in Under the Skin is going to come from the prospect of Scarlett Johansson playing an alien predator who entices her victims with sex, but the tone of the trailer is more surreal than erotic. There are brief glimpses of imagery that make little to no sense out of context as well as scenes that appear to take place in some kind of dark dreamscape.
Johansson has quite a few indie films coming out over the next year or so, as a kind of counterbalance to the massive summer blockbuster that The Avengers: Age of Ultron is likely to become. This month she’s starring as the female lead in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s feature directorial debut, Don Jon, and she’s also playing the AI voice of Joaquin Phoenix’s lovelorn writer in Spike Jonze’s upcoming romantic comedy Her.
Does this trailer give you hope for Under the Skin, or does it look like it will be a little too slow and surreal for your personal tastes? Tell us what you think it could all be about in the comments.
Under the Skin does not yet have a U.S. release date.