Knives and Skin. 2019. USA. Written and directed by Jennifer Reeder. With Raven Whitley, Ty Olwin, Marika Engelhardt. 111 min.
Jennifer Reeder’s Knives and Skin is a mystical teen noir that presents coming of age as a lifelong process and examines the profound impact of grief. After she is left alone in the woods at night by her boyfriend, a young high school girl’s disappearance haunts everyone in a very stylized version of a rural Midwest town. With each new secret revealed, unusual coping techniques develop among the traumatized small-town residents, while the ripple of fear and suspicion destroys some relationships and strengthens others. The backdrop of trauma colors quintessential rituals—classrooms, dances, courtship, football games—in which the teenagers experience an accelerated loss of innocence while their parents are forced to confront adulthood failures.