The Twin

The golden cornfield reaches to the horizon, the road stretches forwards, as endless as the grief of Rachel Doyle, inconsolable after the death of her young son Nathan in a road accident when she was at the wheel. Seeking the clean break of a new start and selling their home in New York, architectural photographer Rachel, her writer husband Anthony and Elliot, the twin of Nathan, relocate to Anthony’s family home in rural Finland.

Anthony familiar and friendly with the villagers, he is comfortable, but Rachel is put off by their customs and insistence that she participate in their festivities, Anthony siding with them rather despite her traumatic reluctance; worse, Elliot’s behaviour is concerning, demanding that a second bed is placed in his room for Nathan and clinging to the belongings of his deceased brother.

Directed by Taneli Mustonen from a script co-written with Aleksi Hyvärinen, The Twin is a cross-border oddity starring Lights Out’s Teresa Palmer and The Titan’s Steven Cree, an Australian and a Scotsman affecting American accents for their incomprehensible displacement to a land where only one of them speaks the language, while The Turning’s Barbara Marten is elderly English eccentric Helen and The Witcher’s Tristan Ruggeri is the scowling Elliot.

With no time period specified it is implied The Twin is not set in the present, the insensitive and selfish Anthony using a mechanical typewriter and playing vinyl records and the Twin Towers glimpsed in the dubiously crated distance at Nathan’s funeral, but while the Finnish setting is atmospheric to city girl Rachel, red sunsets reflected in the lake through the trees, that glorious beauty offers no more than a momentary distraction from the tedium.

A mish-mash of half-formed ideas, Anthony a writer devoid of imagination or any notion of empathy, Rachel unable to comprehend that her son is also bereaved and needing support, she is further alienated by the villagers who present a unified front of sinister judgemental silence save for Helen who believes that her late husband was possessed by a demonic presence which now seeks a new host.

More the generic sum of its influences than the shock of an original idea, among them Rosemary’s Baby, The Wicker Man, The Omen, The Sixth Sense and Midsommar, The Twin is more interesting visually than narratively, a bland overlong patchwork of red herrings which would suggest that professional therapy is a better treatment for devastating grief than denial and running away, the eventual twist surprising only in how disappointing it is.

The Twin will be available on Shudder from Friday 6th May



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