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Mysterious Skin (2004)

NC-17  |   |  Drama  |  24 June 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 54,104 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 245 user | 135 critic | 32 from

A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths, together discovering a horrible, liberating truth.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
George Webster ...
Rachael Nastassja Kraft ...
Deborah (Age 12) (as Rachael Kraft)
Riley McGuire ...
Ryan Stenzel ...
Larry Marko ...


Brian Lackey is determined to discover what happened during an amnesia blackout when he was eight years old, and then later woke with a bloody nose. He believes he was abducted by aliens, and N. McCormick, a fellow player on Brian's childhood baseball team, may be the key as to exactly what happened that night. As Brian searches for the truth and tries to track him down, Neil McCormick takes up hustling and moves to New York, in attempts to forget childhood memories that haunt him. Together, the two of them uncover the terrible truth of the scars they share. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Two boys. One can't remember. The other can't forget.




NC-17 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

24 June 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Piel misteriosa  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$17,425 (USA) (6 May 2005)


$697,181 (USA) (29 July 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Sundance Channel Library Print)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the scene where the boy is lying in bed, he is wearing a shirt that says, "Sex Wax and Six Packs." This is a t-shirt made for a party that is hosted annually by a notable Kansas State University Fraternity House. Kansas State University is in Manhattan, KS and the fact that the boy is wearing this shirt passed down to Hutchinson, KS shows the great deal of costume accuracy of the area. See more »


When Brian and Neil break into coaches house. Niel goes in the left small window of a 3 window. When they cut to inside and Niel helps Brian into a single larger window. See more »


[first lines]
Brian: [narration voice-over] The summer I was 8 years old, five hours disappeared from my life. Five hours. Lost. Gone without a trace.
Brian: [narration voice-over] Last thing I remember I was sitting on the bench at my Little League game. It started to rain. What happened after that remains a pitch black void.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Night of the Living Dead (1968) Directed by George Romero Originally distributed by the Walter Reade Organization See more »


Features Night of the Living Dead (1968) See more »


Written by Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie, Simon Raymonde
Performed by Cocteau Twins
Courtesy of 4AD Records Ltd.
Used by permission of Universal-Polygram Int. Publishing, Inc. o/b/o Universal/Momentum Music 3 Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

Very strong movie with difficult content
26 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I had high hopes for this film, since I have been a big fan of the novel on which it is based. The film exceeded my expectations in every way. Although quite faithful to the book (with many lines of dialogue and narration moving straight from Scott Heim's poetic prose), the movie has more drive and focus and pulls you so far into the troubled characters. Credit for the movie's strength goes all around -- director Araki put his mark on the story without taking it over. He got uniformily good performances (and somehow managed to direct scenes that any reader of the book would have thought completely unfilmable). Kansas has never looked better, or more sinister. The music is used well throughout.

And the acting is terrific. The two youngest leads, Chase Ellison and George Webster, were entirely convincing in their scenes (and I hope they feel proud of their work, seeing as how there's no way they'll get to see this movie until sometime next decade). Michelle Trachtenberg and Jeff Licon have fairly thankless roles, playing characters who are somewhat less clear and crucial in the film than their characters were in the book. But they don't sweat that, they just play what the screen play has them do, and they excel. Licon, especially, I think, although Trachtenberg is at a disadvantage, as her part is really pretty small.

And for me, at least, I think Mary-Lynn Rajskub, Brady Corbet, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt give about as good performances as one can give. Rajskub is so good that she gives the other actors in the film a space to react that is almost visible. Corbet is quiet and intense; if his performance sometimes lacks motivation, it is probably deliberate, as his character is struggling with identity and memory. And as for Gordon-Levitt, man, that guy can act. I really have a hard time thinking of any acting performance ever that has affected me as much.

It is a difficult story, although I felt it ends hopefully. Hopefully, you will agree. Content is very strong, although perhaps not NC-17 strong. Not for kids. Adults, if you can get past the 2nd scene, you can get through it, but there is a lot of outlawed sexuality and violence. It is painful to watch at times, but to me at least, that's because the actors and the director managed to immerse me in the characters.

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