One of the most difficult issues that independent filmmakers on tight budgets struggle with is how to properly light scenes. Lighting is an incredibly important part of storytelling, so much so that the wrong lighting can easily tank a movie. Thankfully, “Skinamarink” is well-lit, even though much of the movie is in near-total darkness because Kyle Edward Ball and his team derived the necessary light from a very creepy, practical source.
“We were able to basically light the entire movie with what was available,” Ball told Filmmaker Magazine. “Significant portions of the movie were literally just lit by the television, and the scenes that aren’t are at the beginning of the movie, and we were just using lamps and a flashlight.”
If you remember those television scenes from “Skinamarink,” you’ll know how increasingly creepy they were. As the old public-domain cartoons played throughout the night, they became the only real source of safety — while the mysterious demon would move toys around to stick on the walls, it was seemingly impossible for it to actually harm Kevin (Lucas Paul) and Kaylee (Dali Rose Tetreault) while it was on. Not only did the lack of real lighting help make the atmosphere more terrifying, but it also served as an important narrative device in an otherwise abstract film.
Details like this make you wonder if “Skinamarink” would have been as effective with a higher budget. However, the answer is clear: the television-illuminated, hometown sets of the film just would not be as eerie or spine-chilling as they are.