For a certain set of viewers, the upcoming Under the Skin will be worth seeing solely because it features Scarlett Johansson playing an alien who specializes in seducing men — and because those scenes often take place with Johansson in the nude. But this unnerving new trailer for Under the Skin makes it clear that this is no sleazy Skinemax feature, and that anyone looking for titillation will likely walk away disappointed.
Under the Skin, which earned rave reviews after a series of festival screenings, follows Johansson's predatory alien seductress as she wanders the Scottish countryside. As she brings a series of men home with her, they're surprised to find themselves in the midst of a very different kind of one-night stand: a bizarre, psychosexual encounter in a sludgy room, where her conquests are gradually subsumed into a liquid void. The process then repeats, as Johansson's emotionless character seeks new victims while becoming gradually more familiar with human nature.
The premise is offbeat enough, but director Jonathan Glazer enhances the alienation with several unconventional filming techniques. Much of the film is dialogue-free, instead scored by unnerving electronic music by Mica Levi. Some of Johansson's scenes were improvised, and the extras are true Scottish non-actors who happened to stumble into Under the Skin's production. It's an unusual, ambitious project that's clearly aiming a little higher than Species — but will audiences be willing to embrace this deliberately discomforting sci-fi parable? We'll find out when Under the Skin hits theaters in limited release in April.