The video for Skrillex’s remix of GTA‘s “Red Lips” is out after what seems like an interminable amount of teasing. With directing duties by Grant Singer, who’s been at the helm for both The Weeknd‘s “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills,” the “Red Lips” video’s highly anticipated buzz seems legitimate. Based on the trailer for the video, I knew this was going feature some high-caliber cinematic production. Aided by the ever-brilliant Cameron Carpenter, we broke down the “Red Lips” video scene-by-scene to explore the many visual inspirations that Singer and Skrillex channeled in this three-minute work of art.
0:05 – Cool opening. That gradual opening and pull back reveal in the shot kind of gives us a forced perspective on the subject, a visual technique I don’t see in a lot of electronic artists’ videos. I feel like this will come into play later. Me likey.
0:37 – Setting looks like Mars, a fitting music video landscape for a guy who relates best to the alien emoji.
0:48 – Focusing on the foreground is great. Develops a sense of uncomfortable immersion for the viewer when those creepy shadowy figures appear in the background. That eerie key shift helps too. I really dig this composition, the lighting, just… IT IS SO GOOD ALREADY.
0:59 – I love that we keep the visual perspective of the narrator for this long! Also wow those dancers are spooky!
1:11 – The mood of this reminds me a lot of Alice in Wonderland with a dash of Snow White’s panicked run through the haunted forest.
1:19 – That chase scene is so imposing, partially because it doesn’t break away from a close-up shot on the demonic figures until the build of the song. The cut to the long shot with that high-speed motion exacerbates the morbid, foreboding anticipation in the audio without being cloying.
1:22 – The come-hither hands of the figures to the protagonist totally goes with the fucked-up Alice meets Tarsem Singh’s The Cell vibe going here.
1:26 – In analyzing the video, Cameron noted that “the fight scene feels like (George) Miller’s style – rapid cut, fast-forward ramping.” He also pulled some examples from Tarsem Singh’s oeuvre to draw comparison to this scene – check out clips from The Fall and Immortals to see what he’s talking about.
2:03 – Shift in the color palette is really striking when our protagonist makes a mad dash for the Alice-esque door. I like that the scene changes while still keeping the continuity of the shot.
2:07 – The headdress is SOOOO much like J. Lo’s in that horrible dream sequence from The Cell. I don’t recommend watching it if you’d like to sleep ever again.
2:15 – Throughout this whole video, the actress has maintained this sort of frightened fragility that’s endearing and jarring in a way. Makes you wonder if any of this is a reality for the character, or if we’re being taken on a ride through her own disturbed imagination.
2:20 – The blast of moths reminds me a lot of Skrillex’s most recent video for “Bun Up The Dance”. I think it’s the lighting in this frame that does it for me.
2:30 – OOF. I just spent 20 minutes trying to remember what movie this image reminded me of. Her position of her body is so alarming – plays into the psychological horror of the video.
2:34 – These creatures make me keep thinking of the Silent Hill video game, along with The Descent monsters AND I AM LEGEND WAIT THAT’S THE ONE THAT’S WHAT IM THINKING OF
3:11 – The second chase scene through the desert brings to mind brief images of Nine Inch Nails’s video for “The Perfect Drug”.
3:44 – Ending reminds me a lot of The Descent in some ways. The brief, peaceful moment before you see the creatures closing in on the protagonist is hallucinatory until that chilling reveal of the eyes. Bravo.