A pretentious evocation of the nightmare of childhood, as experienced by a boy (Jeremy Cooper) growing up in a godforsaken stretch of prairie, The Reflecting Skin already boasts an underground reputation for its arch atmosphere of dread. An exploding frog, child molestation, various forms of maiming, and self-immolation are just a few of its demented yet labored touches. The result is a self-conscious exercise in attitude.
Everyone in this American gothic seems to qualify as insane, including Lindsay Duncan as an Englishwoman named Blue Dolphin (please) whom the boy thinks is a vampire. What’s needed here is some emotional link to reality so that the boy’s fears have some power. But The Reflecting Skin is much too busy reproducing the sight of its own navel for that. D+