Shudder’s Cold Skin is a bizarre Lovecraftian creature feature

Photo Courtesy of Shudder/Samuel Goldwyn Films -- Acquired via Shudder PR
Photo Courtesy of Shudder/Samuel Goldwyn Films -- Acquired via Shudder PR /

Cold Skin is the latest exclusive film from Shudder about an isolated island terrorized by strange creatures come nightfall.

It’s a new month and that means new exclusive films on the horror video streaming service, Shudder. This month delivers Cold Skin and later a film called Don’t Leave Home (to begin steaming Jan. 31st).

I’ve really begun looking forward to their original films month in and month out. They host an assortment of varieties within the horror genre and often lend a spotlight to smaller independent films that may be overlooked by mainstream audiences.

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Cold Skin is a prime example of this as it is a rather bizarre and unconventional creature feature heavily inspired by elements of Lovecraftian horror and based on a novel of the same name by Albert Sánchez Piñol.

It wasn’t my favorite of the Shudder exclusives I’ve seen but I still think the film is worth a watch and here’s why:

It’s a visual feast for the eyes

I’m not sure what the budget of this film actually was, but the production design, camerawork, and visual effects team made it appear as if it were fated for the big screen. I was stunned by the scenic views, the sweeping views over the island to establish the setting.

The film is doused in cool tones and every scene blends and complements the one it transitions into. I’m giving official kudos to the crew for their design and creation of the world, especially of the creatures which both have a sense of child-like wonder about them while still able to morph into something spine-chilling.

Cold Skin
Pictured: David Oakes — Photo Courtesy of Shudder/Samuel Goldwyn Films — Acquired via Shudder PR /

The actors are compelling

If you’re a fan of period dramas at all then you’ve probably seen David Oakes around before and not even realized it, dramas like Victoria, The Borgias, and The White Queen, just to name a few. Oakes plays Friend, a meteorologist, in this movie and he gives an affecting performance as a man who wants to live out his days in isolation in order to study weather patterns on the edge of the world.

He is joined by Ray Stevenson, perhaps most recognizable from his role as Volstagg in the Thor films. Stevenson plays Gruner, a gruff loner on the island who is reluctant to lend Friend any assistance in his battle against the creatures when they attack him on his very first night.

The duo forms something of an “odd couple” pairing, although in far more dire circumstances.

Cold Skin
Photo Courtesy of Shudder/Samuel Goldwyn Films — Acquired via Shudder PR /

The story is wonderfully weird

Cold Skin captivated me because I couldn’t figure out where this story was going to go. At times it makes your stomach turn, in other moments you’re on the edge of your seat, and there are even a few quieter moments which allow you to weep quietly into the dregs of your popcorn bowl.

It’s strange and even off-putting at times, but I think that’s what makes it intriguing. It’s a film that takes an old story and pushes it into a completely new direction.

I confess I didn’t find one of the final twists very surprising, I think the film was more shocking in its authenticity of the tale it wanted to tell, but there was plenty of monster weirdness to suck you in. Especially if you’re a fan of monster films or creature features like I am.

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This is why independent film making, especially within the horror genre, is a modern marvel. Escapism and the true freedom to experiment with the craft and launch stories to new creative heights is something we should hold on to dearly.

Risk-taking in art is how we achieve true genius. Cold Skin is bold enough to take that leap of faith and for the most part, it pays off in a moving, uncomfortably entrancing story.

Cold Skin is streaming now exclusively on Shudder.

Will you be checking out Cold Skin on Shudder? Do you have any favorite monster movies or creature features you might want to recommend? Hit the comments and let us know your thoughts!