What do you get when you mix John Waters/David Lynch with a dash of Riverdale and heaping of musicals? You may get something like Jennifer Reeder’s teen neo-noir musical extravaganza Knives and Skin. An official selection at Berlinale and Fantasia Film Festival, IFC Midnight has released the arresting first trailer in anticipation of the film’s release next month.

Much like Twin Peaks asked the question, “Who killed Laura Palmer?,” Knives and Skin asks, “What happened to Carolyn Harper?” Harper’s (Raven Whitley) mysterious disappearance shakes her midwestern town to the core and it’s up to Sheriff Doug Darlington (James Vincent Meredith), the father of two of Harper’s classmates, to solve the case. What follows is the unveiling of secrets that have plagued many of her acquaintances and family in this seemingly mundane town. Previewing a surreal fever dream of a movie, there’s even a few musical numbers to add to the mix.

In our glowing review by Jared Mobarak, he conveys this sentiment, “It’s thus a magical thing when Reeder lets them open their wings and fly. Sometimes it’s a cutting verbal barb or a devastating blow to the head with a folding chair, but it’s always this profound cathartic release….That she so effortlessly moves from the severity of such sequences to the restrained humor of others can’t be undersold since that dynamic is crucial for the film’s intentional artificiality to resonate as wholly authentic.”

See the trailer and poster below.

What happened to Carolyn Harper? Part suburban nightmare, part neon-soaked teenage fever dream, this tantalizing mystery traces the wave of fear and distrust that spreads across a small Midwestern town in the wake of a high school girl’s mysterious disappearance. As the loneliness and darkness lurking beneath the veneer of everyday life gradually comes to light, a collective awakening seems to overcome the town’s teenage girls—gathering in force until it can no longer be contained. Unfolding in a hallucinatory haze of lushly surreal images, Knives and Skin is a one-of-a-kind coming-of-age noir that haunts like a half-remembered dream.

Knives and Skin opens in theaters and on VOD on December 6.

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