The Twin (2022) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Twin (2022) Review

Horrorific content by angie on May 09th, 2022 | Movie Review | Slow Burn, Supernatural, Cult, Drama, Thriller, Dysfunctional Family

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A mother who needs to confront the unbearable truth about her surviving twin son.

The Twin (2022) was directed by Taneli Mustonen and stars Teresa Palmer, Steven Cree, Barbara Marten, and Tristan Ruggeri.

The Twin Review

The plot of The Twin is focused on a mother who is gaslighted and isolated, which are themes often found in horror movies about motherhood. This creates an atmosphere of suspense and fear, which are common emotions associated with horror films. Director and co-writer Taneli Mustonen attempts to subvert this traditional formula by adding elements of Finnish folk horror and unexpected plot twists. However, The Twin is so focused on the end goal that the journey to get there is challenging to follow.

After a drive through the countryside that ends in tragedy, Rachel and Anthony bury their son Nathan in New York. They then move with their other son Elliot to the quiet Finnish countryside to try and heal. However, it does not take long for Elliot to start behaving oddly or for Rachel to notice the locals' strange, always watching presence. The more Rachel mistrusts the locals as they close in, the more desperate she becomes to unravel the truth about the sinister forces that targeted Elliot.

This story is intentionally set mostly after the main characters have already dealt with their grief, so we never get to see their family dynamic before the tragedy. This makes it hard to connect with Rachel's emotional journey since she starts out in an extreme state of distress that never changes throughout the story. Whereas Rachel is an overbearing and emotional mother, her husband Anthony is distant and uninvolved, often spending time in his office drinking while Rachel argues with their son Elliot. Both of the central characters lack depth.

There are also strange visual clues and red herrings. For example, the early scene in which Rachel and Anthony bury their son is set against a cityscape featuring the World Trade Center. The narrative is set in this time period primarily to take advantage of the Twin Towers as an unsubtle foreshadowing device in a horror movie called The Twin. The Twin is full of enigmatic clues that don't become clear until much later, and even then, they land with a thud.

The director's choice to layer the folk horror elements creates visual interest, with Pagan rituals and Baphomet-induced nightmares, but it is all kept at a deliberate distance. The entire movie is framed from Rachel's perspective to maintain the mystery, drawing it out as long as possible. This method of building suspense is ultimately unsatisfying by the end of the movie. The third act brings the story's major plot points into focus, but the shortcuts it took to get there mean that much of what came before was unimportant filler. Additionally, it raises questions about the characters' choices and motivations.

Although the Finnish countryside is stunning, the film's atmosphere is not well conveyed. The director's attempts to subvert tropes and clichés fall flat, and the ending does not feel satisfying. This ultimately harms the film's characters.

Worth Watching?

Barbara Marten's portrayal of Helen invigorates the film, but even she falls victim to the poor pacing and story. In the end, "The Twin" is all shock value and no substance.

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