Skin Deep Thrills

by Dan Wilson

Skin Deep, Sacha Parisot’s debut feature film, has a very tight script. As thrillers go, it’s better than average, with some unexpected twists and wonderful dialog. Spain’s Aitor Mantxola photographs the film beautifully, with a preponderance of golden hour light. The film takes place in a single afternoon, as two couples drink, dine, and hot tub in suburban Silicon Valley. One of the wives is discovered dead in the hot tub, and the three remaining characters try to decide what to do about the situation. Accusations fly as paranoia, racism, and a secret mistress come into play. One of the more interesting things about this film was the manner in which director Sacha Parisot handles race issues. Victoria, Anthony’s wife, is white (the only Caucasian lead), and this is a contentious issue with Michael, Anthony’s best friend. Instead of making it film about race, as directors like Spike Lee have done, Parisot chose to include race issues in the normal discourse of the story, without having the issues become overbearing. It’s part of the fabric of the greater plot instead of actually being the plot. Most thrillers follow predictable and formulaic paths. While many of those devices were used in this film, the way they were used in the context of the story showed some innovation, and unlike recent thrillers that have plot holes big enough to drive a truck through, everything that happened in the script made sense or was explained subtly in prior scenes. The cast has great chemistry, and for the most part, the acting is top notch, featuring performances from Mailon Rivera, Steve White, Kristen Shaw, Mad TV’s Debra Wilson, and A.J. Johnson. Shot over two weeks with a budget around $400,000, the film was recently selected for distribution by Urban Works Entertainment. It will have limited theatrical distribution in larger markets around the country, and the DVD will be available for sale and rental nationwide in June. Skin Deep was featured at Second Saturdays in March. Read more about the Second Saturdays Film Showcase in the Currents here. is the official movie site.
Sacha Parisot

Writer/Director Sacha Parisot answers questions about Skin Deep from the attendees at the March Second Saturdays film showcase.