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Cold Skin (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cold Skin
Cold Skin (film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
SpanishLa piel fría
Directed byXavier Gens
Produced by
  • Denise O'Dell
  • Mark Albela
  • Denis Pedregosa
  • Orlando Pedregosa
  • Frederic Bovis
  • Lucette Legot
  • Anna Soler Pont
  • Ricard Domingo
Written byJesús Olmo
Based onCold Skin
by Albert Sánchez Piñol[1]
Music byVíctor Reyes
Edited byGuillermo de la Cal
  • Babieka
  • Kanzaman France
  • Pontas Films
Distributed bySamuel Goldwyn Films
Release date
  • 10 September 2017 (2017-09-10) (L'Étrange Festival [fr])
  • 20 October 2017 (2017-10-20) (Spain)
  • France
  • Spain
Box office$752,552[2]

Cold Skin is a 2017 French-Spanish science fiction-horror film directed by Xavier Gens and based on the 2002 novel of the same name by Albert Sánchez Piñol.[3][4] The film was released on 20 October 2017 in Spain. Samuel Goldwyn Films released the film in the United States.[5]


In 1914, a young Englishman travels to a remote island in the South Atlantic to work for one year as a meteorologist. When he and the captain of the ship search for the previous meteorologist, they realize he is missing, and the only other inhabitant of the island is the caretaker of the crudely fortified lighthouse, Gruner, who greets them both coldly. Gruner says the previous meteorologist cannot return with the ship as he has died from typhus, possibly swimming in the sea, and there is no body. The captain suggests the newcomer leaves with him but he refuses.

The unnamed man explores the island, seeing strange rock circles on the beach. When he returns to the cabin he finds the diary of the previous meteorologist which talks of strange creatures from the sea attacking; soon after reading this he is beset at night by the creatures. He hides in the cellar and jabs one of the creatures, which looks through the floorboards, causing them to flee. The next day he calls to Gruner to let him into the lighthouse, but to no avail. In the cabin he discovers a rifle among the baggage, and, determined to make a stand, he reinforces the cabin. At night the creatures come and he shoots at them. Eventually he has to resort to starting a fire as there are too many to take on. This causes them to flee but ruins the cabin.

The next day he observes Gruner leaving the lighthouse, and follows him down to the rocks where he discovers a female sea creature. Gruner prevents him from shooting her and shows that she is 'tame'. Gruner gives the man the name "Friend" and he explains that like a dog she will not leave her master no matter how cruel he is. She licks Friend's wounded hand and it heals.

Friend offers to share ammunition and other supplies with Gruner if he can stay in the lighthouse, which Gruner accepts. He wonders if the creatures keep coming for the lighthouse because they want to reclaim the female sea creature. More creatures attack that night, but Friend faints and Gruner becomes angry at his uselessness and tells him to do menial activities such as fetch water instead. The next night Gruner locks Friend outside on the balcony with his gun, leaving him to see if he can fend for himself against the creatures. In the morning Gruner discovers him covered in creature blood but alive.

The two men settle into a routine; the creatures attack several nights and they are forced to constantly keep watch. Friend discovers Gruner has been having sex with the female creature. Friend grows to like the creature, and names her Aneris, while Gruner physically and sexually abuses her. Friend recalls why he came to the island: to find peace in nothingness.

One night, the duo come perilously close to being killed when they are overrun by creatures. Locking themselves inside the lighthouse light-room, Gruner is badly bitten on the foot as he flees upstairs. At dawn the creatures leave for the sea. Aneuris tends Gruner's wounded foot. When Friend tries to signal a passing ship for rescue, Gruner prevents him from doing so, while Aneris tries to protect him, enraging Gruner.

Friend takes to walking along the beach collecting whale bones and carving them. He shows one shaped like a boat to Aneris and she leads him to an abandoned boat on the beach. He tells Gruner about it but Gruner says the boat is too small for an escape from the island, and that he knew it was therefrom when a Portuguese man had used it to escape a shipwreck, but had been killed by the creatures. He says the ship's cargo contained dynamite but the only dynamite the Portuguese man had brought with him had been water-logged.

Friend shows interest in exploring the shipwreck, while Gruner does not. However, after seeing Friend swimming in a pool with Aneris, Gruner changes his mind, secretly hoping that Friend might die in the attempt due to jealousy. They use the boat to row out to the wreck and Friend dons an old diving suit to go down and search for the dynamite. While recovering some, he sees child-like versions of the creatures playing. Once they return, they discover that the recovered dynamite is dry enough to use.

Friend and Gruner form a plan to lure as many sea creatures to the lighthouse before setting off dynamite, believing that the show of force will drive them off. Aneris is forced onto the balcony and made to 'sing' to attract them. The creatures attack, but Gruner fails to set off the explosives, forcing Friend to run to the top of the lighthouse to reconnect the detonator. The resulting blast kills many of the creatures. Gruner sets off a secondary set of explosives closer to the lighthouse, knocking both Friend and himself unconscious.

In the morning, Gruner finishes off the wounded and dying creatures that are lying on the beach with a bayonet. Friend believes the creatures are more civilized than Gruner makes them out to be after seeing one of the dead creatures wearing a necklace. Gruner, enraged, hurls it into the sea. He explains that he found Aneris sea creature years ago as a baby trapped in a net and rescued her, believing that she owes him her life. The following night the creatures do not attack, and a great wailing sound comes from the sea which Friend takes to be mourning. Aneris disappears. While Gruner sleeps, Friend discovers a photo of Gruner as a young man with a wife.

Friend resumes walking along the beach and leaves a carved present for the creatures. He discovers a baby creature investigating his present, and Aneris returns, appearing more confident and bold. They are interrupted by Gruner firing a gun. Friend tries to tell him that the creatures – more of whom have appear behind Aneris – want a truce. Gruner commands Aneris to return to him but she refuses, causing him to scream that 'no-one leaves Gruner'. He runs back to the lighthouse and shoots a flare at the child, striking him in the chest and killing him. Friend runs after Gruner as he continues to fire flares, and after a struggle throws him to the ground and stabs his leg. Gruner gains the upper hand and attempts to kill him with an axe, but Friend reveals that Gruner is the previous meteorologist and that saying he is not a murderer. Gruner stops, drops the axe and staggers outside to be killed by the sea creatures.

Sometime later, the next ship arrives to replace Friend. The captain mistakes him for the lighthouse-keeper Gruner and Friend does not correct him. He maintains the role, contemplating that this is the peace he originally sought.



Cold Skin has grossed a worldwide total of $752,552.[2] On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 48%, based on 27 reviews, and an average rating of 6.09/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Cold Skin exerts a strong visual pull, even if all that icy atmosphere isn't a truly satisfying substitute for a story that dares to go somewhere different."[6]


  1. ^ Miska, Brad (6 July 2017). "Here's a Lovecraftian Monster from Xavier Gens' 'Cold Skin'!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b "La Piel Fría (2017)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  3. ^ Billington, Alex (12 July 2017). "First Teaser Trailer for Xavier Gens' Chilly New Sci-Fi Film 'Cold Skin'". Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  4. ^ Webster, Chris (30 June 2016). "First Look: Xavier Gens Wraps 'Cold Skin'!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  5. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (28 February 2018). "Samuel Goldwyn Picks Up Rights To 'Cold Skin'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Cold Skin (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 27 May 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 19 March 2021, at 01:21
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