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White Skin

White Skin (2006)

May. 23,2006
| Drama Horror Mystery

Two roommates discover that the family of one of their girlfriends is populated with vampires.


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La peau blanche, "The White Skin" is adapted from a dark fantastical (not fantasy) novel by Joel Champetier, a Quebecois writer. Two roommates pick up prostitutes in a bar, one of them being a pale skinned redhead and once in their respective rooms, one of the friends gets savagely attacked by the redhead. Months afterwards, the other friend starts becoming strangely fascinated with a red-haired female musician even though he suffers from a long-time phobia of redheads.This is a low-budget fantastical horror thriller (less than a million dollars) that relies more on story and characters than on special effects to get the viewer involved. I found the story engrossing and well told as the mystery progressively unfolds. The friendship of the roommates was credible and made them likable. I watched it in the original french so cannot comment on the English dubbing but the french dialogues sounded very true and good for modern Quebecois people. If you have stereotypes about Quebec and want to see an accurate and well-shot representation of urban Montreal in winter, rent this film. If there's one thing I found lacking, it was the chemistry between the roommate and the redhead musician. Their relationship is supposed to be not quite right, kinda weird, so it succeeds there but the fascination and "romantic" elements didn't come off strong enough. I would tend to put the blame on the actress playing the redhead musician. Emotionally-wise, especially the expression in her eyes, she was unfortunately lacking even when she wasn't supposed to be cold and distant.It's a slow build-up after the initial attack but I didn't find it boring in the least. This is a quality dramatic thriller that's more intimate and mysterious than flashy and horrific (although there are a few shocking moments). It shows you don't need a huge budget to make a good genre film provided you have good writing and a talented director. Having read the book previously, I would even say that the adaptation doesn't pale compared to the book and even that the ending of the film is better.Rating: 6 out of 10


Oh my God, Eric Cartman was right! I remember seeing an episode of "South Park" in which Cartman single-handedly wanted to perform some sort of genocide against red-haired kids because he proclaims them to be pure evil. With just a slight bit of lunatic imagination this low-budgeted but nonetheless artistic Canadian thriller more or less confirm the 'wicked redhead'-concept, as the red hair and titular pale skin are outward characteristics for the so-called "Succubus". These are female demons that use their sexy appearances and steaming libidos to seduce men and then subsequently feed on their flesh during the act of intercourse. For some strange reason, Succubi are regretfully underused in horror films nowadays (back in the rancid 60's and 70's they formed often recurring characters in sleazy European B-flicks) but "White Skin" is a very admirable and innovative new film with a few clever twists. Literature student Thierry has a congenital aversion – almost like a phobia – towards girls with red hair and pale skins. His sentiments even increase when his roommate and best friend Henri gets bitten in the throat by a redhead prostitute during a nightly escapade that nearly causes a racial conflict. Completely unexpected, Thierry then falls head over heels in love with the introvert and extremely pale skinned Claire. She's a strange and mysterious girl but Thierry gladly neglects his school work and social life in favor of her, much to the discontent of Henri. Thierry even guards Claire's hospital bed when she falls victim to a vicious case of skin cancer, but then he gradually discovers she and particularly her family have a much more terrifying condition than cancer. Director/Co-writer Daniel Roby is extremely sparing with clues during the first hour of the film and literally surrounds Claire's character with an aura of mystery and oddly enticing morbidity. The protagonists' vivid encounter with a blood-sucking redhead during the opening sequences somewhat gave an idea of what to expect, but still you keep having the impression they could go anywhere with the story. The pace is rather slow, but admittedly that is better to illustrate the growing bond between the two unusual lovers as well as in order to build up towards an offbeat and relatively shocking climax. "White Skin" isn't a gory movie and probably moves far too slow to impress the fans of recent horror stuff like "Saw IV" and "30 Days of Night", but it's definitely recommended to people with an interest in story –and atmosphere driven thrillers. The fairly unknown Canadian cast does a good job. Lead guy Marc Paquet looks a bit like the older sibling of Daniel Radcliffe and the younger one of Tobey Maguire, but apparently this nerdish type of appearance works splendidly. Marianne Farley, as Claire, and particularly Jessica Malka as her insatiable younger sister Marquise are bewitching in the female leads.


I caught this movie on Encore one night when I was bored and had nothing better to watch. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this unassuming little flick. At first I was put off by the dubbing job. The film is in French and the voices that they picked to dub the actors do not match well. It took me a while, but when the plot kicked in, I was able to overlook this small fault. And, boy, did it kick in when the two protagonists, Henri and Thierry, college students and roommates, go to a seedy hotel with two hookers. Henri's hooker, Marquise, turns out to be more than he bargained for when she tries to slit his throat. It's a startling development, for the viewer as well as the boys, and drags you right into the film.***Major Spoilers Ahead***The other student, Thierry, falls in love with a redheaded woman, Claire, he sees in the metro. He becomes so obsessed with her that he is unable to concentrate on his schoolwork and ignores his friend. In a bizarre twist, it turns out that Claire is the sister of the homicidal hooker who attacked Henri. Worse still, she has what appears to be cancer. Henri catches Claire in some odd (and fairly disgusting) behavior while staying at their apartment and becomes suspicious of her. Turns out he was right to be suspicious when she and her whole family turn out to be soul sucking Succubi. And you thought you had some bad girlfriends.I really enjoyed the script's take on the Succubes (the French spelling for Succubus). Unlike the typical presentation of these creatures as sucking the life out of men in a genteel and erotic fashion, these women literally eat their prey to assume the life force. This leads to a grisly and effective scene when Marquise devours Henri in front of a stunned Thierry. All the ladies do a good acting job (despite being hampered by the aforementioned poor dubbing) especially Jessica Malka who plays Marquise. She is by turns sensual and scary. Marc Paquet underplays his role which is realistic and okay, until the very end, when it becomes annoying. And therein lies the weakness of the movie. I found the end to be abrupt and it felt rushed after the pace and stylishness of the rest of the movie. Though it does add some welcome gore, I was hoping for a better denouement. I was disappointed in Thierry's ineffectiveness and general uselessness in the final scenes and questioned his behavior, given what had gone before.That being said, I still give this a seven out of ten for a fresh, intelligent and literate take on a story that we have seen before in various incarnations, but never quite like this.


I saw this back at the 2005 Palm Springs International Film Festival. It was one of the few late night screenings that they show on the weekend so I like going to late night movies and choose to attend this but I really didn't know much beforehand on what it was about. Had I a better idea of it's storyline and plot I probably would have skipped it but I'm glad that I didn't because it was actually a pretty good movie and I got into and went along for the ride. The film's Director/Producer/Writer Daniel Roby was on hand to introduce the film. This is not a big film but it has a good look to it and a modern take on an old storyline that works. Good casting in this movie. I would rate it a 7.5 out of a possible 10 and recommend it but not for everyone.