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The Reflecting Skin (1990)

2:19 | Trailer
In the 1950's, a young boy living with his troublesome family in rural USA fantasizes that a neighboring widow is actually a vampire, responsible for a number of disappearances in the area.


Philip Ridley


Philip Ridley
6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Viggo Mortensen ... Cameron Dove
Lindsay Duncan ... Dolphin Blue
Jeremy Cooper ... Seth Dove
Sheila Moore ... Ruth Dove
Duncan Fraser ... Luke Dove
David Longworth ... Joshua
Robert Koons Robert Koons ... Sheriff Ticker
David Bloom ... Deputy
Evan Hall Evan Hall ... Kim
Codie Lucas Wilbee Codie Lucas Wilbee ... Eben
Sherry Bie Sherry Bie ... Cassie
Jason Wolff Jason Wolff ... Cadillac Driver (as Jason Wolfe)
Dean Hass Dean Hass ... Passenger
Guy Buller ... Passenger
Jason Brownlow Jason Brownlow ... Passenger


A young boy tries to cope with rural life circa 1950s and his fantasies become a way to interpret events. After his father tells him stories of vampires, he becomes convinced that the widow up the road is a vampire, and tries to find ways of discouraging his brother from seeing her. He must deal with an abusive mother, a father with a charge of molestation, a band of youths creating havoc, and an unforgiving environment in general. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sometimes terrible things happen quite naturally


Drama | Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for intense violent behavior, and for sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



UK | Canada



Release Date:

9 November 1990 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Det gyllene fältet See more »

Filming Locations:

Canada See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The industrial/experimental band Coil used the line "you've been exploding frogs again" on their album « Stolen and Contaminated Songs » (1992). See more »


Dolphin Blue: Oh... innocence can be hell.
See more »

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User Reviews

Frightening Spiritual Wasteland
27 June 2004 | by lkilSee all my reviews

Reflecting Skin is in many ways a unique creation. It operates at many levels, each of which should be taken on its own terms and understood within its own logic. Devastating social critique is entangled together with brilliantly shot natural landscapes (especially the combination of azure skies and sweeping fields of golden wheat). Dark and semi-psychotic scenes of Seth's father's self-immolation are entwined with the gentle lyricism of Cameron's "falling in love" with the "vampire woman," Dolphin Blue. Taken together, all these elements produce a dark, unsettling, relentlessly haunting atmosphere of the most profound spiritual crisis. Reflecting Skin is about the rock-bottom of socio-cultural devastation, it is about the wasteland lying inside each of us.

Philip Ridley shows us the isolated world totally devoid of all GENUINE sense of moral direction. The actor who plays a 9-year old Seth is absolutely excellent in portraying a frightened, well-meaning rural boy who has already absorbed all the unspeakable cruelty of his family and wider local milieu. The greatest nighmare of the film, it seems to me, is the destructively stubborn denial within which all characters are deeply and inextricably mired. There is nothing they are afraid more of than looking at themselves, at the profound evil which had already turned their souls into the most frightening desert. They are prepared to look around for vampires, witches and other incarnations of evil rather than to confront the layers of hypocrisy, sanctimony, and callousness within which they are hopelessly bogged down. They are blind to their own faults but are filled with immeasurable hate towards the "evil forces" out there. One is simply astonished at how successfully Ridley portrays the reservoirs of hatred and existential frustration hovering over the settlement. The movie traces how this hatred, this stubborn blindness progressively corrodes and ruins an impoverished rural community in the mid1950s. This movie is in many ways an examination of the local and deeply psychological sources of fascism (not in its more historical and specific meaning but as a cultural phenomenon of the modern world). Seth's desperate shriek for "salvation" amid the rays of the slowly setting sun and clouds of dust is perhaps the most powerful and unsettling scene in the film. Yet, watch closely: Seth's face is not covered with tears and genuine grief! His soul has been turned into stone -- he has grown to accept the ubiquity of death and cruelty. He will grow up to be a truly scary human being, able to kill and plunder with no remorse or doubt.

Great cinematographic gem. Should be appreciated by everybody interested in challenging, controversial, and ambiguous art. Profound social and even religious message about the evils of sanctimonious fundamentalism of any type of faith.

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