The Twin Plot
Rachel (Teresa Palmer) and Anthony (Steven Cree) are your regular everyday couple, living a simple life with their adorable twins Nathan and Elliot (Tristan Ruggeri). Everything is going fine for them until one tragic day when the family gets into a horrible car accident that kills one of their sons. In an attempt to deal with the grief, Anthony, Rachel and Elliot move to a little Scandinavian country town where they can hopefully begin a new life.
Shortly after they arrive in their new home, Rachel starts to notice some strange things going on, her son is drawing some disturbing images, her neighbours are all a little bit too attentive and she could swear that she sees signs of her dead child all around. Slowly Rachel starts looking deeper into what’s going on, and she’s not going to like what she finds.
The Twin Review
The Twin is a film just brimming with a foreboding atmosphere, almost right from the beginning. With a large amount of the film set inside some very classy looking homes at night, it leaves plenty of room for classic tension builders like creaking doors and odd-looking shadows to create a feeling that there’s something about to leap out at any second. That tension is pretty constant, rising to a few impressive peaks that can get the heart going for a bit… but only for a bit.
The Twin seems to be suffering from a severe case of “Wanting to try a little of everything” and it just doesn’t work. Picture any horror film that takes place in a two-story house that looks like it’s at least 100 years old that includes a large string orchestra on the soundtrack and a dead kid… every single cliche or plot point you can think of that takes place in one of those films happens here.
There are so many things that happen in The Twin and it’s not because the film is going for a grand twisting narrative like the underrated The Perfection, no it’s just because this film loaded up on the plot point buffet and can’t really pace itself.
When I say that The Twin wants to try everything, I mean it wants to try EVERYTHING. The kid acts like they’re talking to their dead brother, the town might be a cult, there might be ghosts, it could be a possession, it’s happened before to a kindly old woman who lives in the town, the photos are wrong, there’s a seance to communicate with the spirits, it could all just be a dream, maybe they’re born with it, maybe it’s clinical depression, every one of these ideas is thrown against the wall in hopes something will stick but all it does is create a situation where you have no idea what the hell you’re meant to be following.
The problem with trying to do everything at once is that when you eventually pick something to go with for the ending, it can be a letdown and sure enough this film has a disappointing ending that just keeps getting sillier and sillier. Maybe after one dramatic reveal it might have worked, but they try to do the same reveal three times in three different ways (after they’ve done about two other fakeout reveals of what’s going on because The Twin cannot make up its mind) and by the end, it’s hard to not just stare blankly at the screen muttering ‘is that it?’.
The other problem is that eventually when you pick a real ending you’re going to need to drop other ideas, which leads to major characters just kind of vanishing with no real resolution or a constant background image (in the case of this film, the townspeople watching our main couple) suddenly go away with no real explanation. The ending almost feels like the film version of the classic parlour game Exquisite Corpse where each person has to add to a sequence with only seeing the very end of the sequence before them, which often leads to a piece that’s impossible to logically follow and that just doesn’t work for this kind of film.
It’s a shame that The Twin just tries to do too much because when it works, it damn well works. The atmosphere is undeniable, the setting is just the right mixture of memorable and offputting, and the acting is sublime. Hell, Teresa Palmer basically carries the entire damn film on the strength of her eyes alone, one look can tell you every little bit of information you need about her mental state and how it deteriorates through the film.
Even the child performance is great (admittedly up until the end but the kid isn’t given much to do in the final few minutes other than scream annoyingly) but none of that helps the film that is unsure if we’re doing a haunting, possession, cult or mental illness story.
The Twin Overall
The Twin has got a fair bit going for it, that’s hard to deny and if you are able to get past the lack of focus it’ll certainly make you feel uneasy for a few hours… but it’s weighed down by trying to be everything for all people which means it’s never going to actually work for everyone. It’s going to probably end up as a film that most watch and forget, or turn off when it gets a little too jumbled. It’s not awful, but it’s not good enough to be worth recommending to anyone.