Under the Skin Explained: Everything You Need to Know!

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under the skin explained

2014 gave us the best science fiction movie of the year – Under the Skin. The movie was directed by Jonathan Glazer, written by Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer, and produced by James Wilson and Nick Wechsler. Telluride Film Festival premiered the movie on 29th August 2003.

The movie was released in the UK on 14th March 2014; 4th April 2014 in North America; 23rd July 2014 in Switzerland and all over the globe on 10th August 2014. Despite the mind-blowing concept and execution, Under the Skin could only garner $7.3 million in the box office against its $13.3 million budget.

The main reason why the audience couldn’t connect with the film was its extremely high-pitched concept. You do not need to worry as we have Under the Skin explained so that you can enjoy the masterpiece by Glazer with your family and friends.

under the skin explained

Under the Skin explained

Sometimes it is a bit difficult for viewers to interpret certain high-themed movies and Under the Skin is no exception. That is why it still continues to be one of the many underrated movies of that time. That is why we have Under the Skin explained for you. Scroll down and enjoy!

The director has kept the majority of the scenes an open-ended one. This gives us, the audience, to interpret the movie plot according to our understanding of the same. We have broken down the movie into different scenes so that it is easier for you to understand it better.

The Beginning

The movie begins with some eerie visuals and music. We can hear a woman’s voice glitching like that of a machine. The scene cuts into a motorcyclist, who we see picking up a dead body and then stuffing the same into a van. He drives the van off to his lair. These are the 2 main characters of the film, and the movie is about the odd chase between the two.


We see the woman taking the clothes off the dead woman and wearing them. As the motorcyclist drives away, we see the woman getting into the van and driving to a mall to buy a top and a fur coat. She imitates other human beings and applies makeup on her. By this time, the director manages to convey to the audience that she is not from Earth and is most probably an alien.

As the story moves forward, we observe the woman looking for its prey and, on her quest, capturing pictures of various people till she fixes her target on one. She manages to take the man to her lair.

Harvest Pool

The lair, where she takes her first victim, has a particular floor that transports human beings into a large vacuum. We see that the man follows the woman into the lair, where he is in some kind of a trance. He doesn’t seem to notice the fact that he has been slowly submerged into the black liquid. The man continues to follow the woman, who, on the other hand, walks over the black liquid, stripping sensually. After a few minutes we see, the man is completely eaten by the black liquid as the woman walks away into the shade.

The Beach Scene

The next scene that we are introduced to is a beach seen. We see a family is at the beach. The woman is also wandering on the beachside and stumbles upon a loner. They start talking when we see that the dog the family has gone too far into the sea. The wife goes after the dog, and then we see the husband go to rescue both of them. The loner then goes to rescue the entire family but in vain. He lays on the beach exhausted when suddenly the woman strikes him with a stone, ultimately killing him. She put him in her van and drives off to the lair. This scene is especially cold-hearted as we see the baby of the family sitting on the beach and crying as the scene cuts.

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Man at the Club

As the movie folds out, we see the woman in a club locating her next target. She manages to allure him to her lair, and ultimately following the same algorithm, he is also eaten up by the absurd black liquid. As the scene moves forward, we witness some red meat being sent on a belt. We are still not sure what that was. Maybe you can put down your comments regarding this scene? The woman comes across the news of the family who drowned at the beach. At this point, we see some kind of emotional empathy in the eyes of the woman. Maybe this is where she is slowly starting to connect with human beings.

The woman and the motorcyclist meet

In the next scene, we see that the woman has been successful in killing her next prey. After the cut, we see the main characters come face to face. The motorcyclist looks deep into her eyes and leaves in silence. We do not know what has been tried to be conveyed in this scene. We can see this as a challenge that the motorcyclist threw at the woman or a stare of reassurance. She drives away when a certain group of men is attacking her van.

The Disfigured Man

The woman runs into a man with a disfigured face. She ends up seducing the man and alluring her to the lair and drowns him in the pool. After walking away, she measures herself in the mirror and feels deep remorse for what she has done. She ends up rescuing the man with a disfigured face. The man, who is pretty confused, runs away into the field to save his life.

The motorcyclist has been keeping a close watch on the woman. He captures the man with the disfigured face and puts him in the back of the car, and speeds away.

Mirror Scene

The woman is now at a bus stand after abandoning her van. She is offered help by a man who boards the bus with her, and she accepts. The man buys her some warm clothes and food and is generous enough to let her stay at his place. The director has presented the scene very well where the woman tries her best to get accustomed to her human version in order to connect with the man.

At night, we see an intimate moment between them, where the woman still tries to feel all of it as she is still not well suited to the Skin of a human being.

On the other hand, the motorcyclist has formed a group of his friends and begun looking for the woman.

The woman leaves the house of the man the next morning and wanders off into the forest.

Death Scene

She comes across a logger as she takes shelter in a hut in the forest and takes a nap there. Soon she wakes up to the logger molesting her. The audience witness how the tables have turned when she makes a run for her life as now, she is threatened. The logger soon catches up to her and starts ripping her clothes. Surprisingly enough, pieces of her Skin also come off, and he runs away, realizing that she isn’t human.

The woman rips off her Skin, and we witness the alien for the very first time in the movie. The alien observes its human face as the logger returns with a bottle of fuel. He drenches her with the same and burns her alive.

On the other hand, the motorcyclist is still unable to find her. This is how the movie ends.

It gives us viewers to think about the ending according to our imagination. The ending can be interpreted in various ways. One of them might be how a person who is attracted by the outer beauty is instantly remorseful about their choice when they get to see the inner side of the person. You can add your own interpretation as well!

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Under the Skin Motorcyclist

The movie has a motorcyclist as one of the main characters. The role of the motorcyclist is quite controversial. Some part of the audience interpreted his role as someone who is chasing the woman throughout the film. They believe the same as he was seen chasing the woman along with his bike gang later in the movie.

While other half of the audience saw the role of the motorcyclist as someone who was trying to protect and help the woman throughout her mission or quest.

The director designed the film in such a manner that it is up to the audience how they want to interpret the characters. The entire movie is open-ended and left for us to interpret according to our sensibility.

It is still a question that what was the role of the motorcyclist and how was he important in the whole film. This is a question that the writer can only solve. But till then, it is all about how we want to look at the character.

The role of the motorcyclist in Under the Skin was played by Jeremy McWilliams.

Under the Skin themes

The underrated movie explored quite some important themes in its own twisted way. The major themes which were taken into consideration and played out were – identity, sex, body image, and feminism. Let’s have a look at them in detail.


Throughout the film, we witness the woman looking for some kind of an identity. As she takes under the Skin of a human being, she strives for her own individual identity but is disappointed every time because she can’t garner one.


The theme of sex is explored widely throughout the film. This is the only way, she is able to lure the men into her lair, but unfortunately enough, she can’t feel the pleasure of the same as she is an alien. Sadly, she has to witness the nasty side of the same when she is molested by the logger.

Body image

The theme of body image is also wielded out quite perfectly in the movie as the image of a beautiful and harmless woman is what lures the men towards the lair. This is how she is able to go forward with her conquest. It is also explored when the disfigured man is introduced into the movie. Moreover, the man only goes out at night, as his physical appearance is not in sync with the accepted body image in society.

Under the Skin Cast

The cast and crew for the movie – Under the Skin are:

  • Scarlett Johansson – The Woman
  • Jeremy McWilliams – The Motorcyclist
  • Lynsey Taylor Mackey – The Dead Woman
  • Kevin McAlinden – First Victim
  • Andrew Gorman – Second Victim
  • Joe Szula – Man at the Club
  • Krystof Hadek – The Loner at the Beach
  • Scott Dymond – The Nervous Man
  • Adam Pearson – The Deformed Man
  • Michael Moreland – The Quiet Man
  • Dave Acton – The Logger
  • Jessica Mance – The Alien


Under the Skin Netflix

Under the Skin, movie is unfortunately not available on Netflix. The movie was on the platform till 11th July 2021 but has now been taken down.

You can watch the movie on Amazon Prime and Hulu TV or download it from Torrent or some other pirated sites.

Under the Skin explained YouTube

YouTube has several videos with the title of “Under the Skin explained.” Moreover, you can check them out as well for the audio-visual input and understand the scenes furthermore.

You will also come across the movie uploaded on YouTube. And you can check out the movie there as well after watching the explanation videos.

Final Thoughts

We have come to the end of our blog – Under the Skin explained today. And of course, we hope that we were able to break down the masterpiece by Jonathan Glazer – Under the Skin for you to understand in a much better way. So, go ahead and watch this fantastic movie to have a wonderful time. And of course, don’t forget to tell us in the comment section below how you liked the film. We will wait eagerly for your honest feedback.