Any new Shudder movie is minor cause for celebration, so it was with this in mind that I started the new film from director Taneli Mustonen (2016’s shocking slasher, Lake Bodom). The Twin is significant for a couple of reasons—primarily, it returns the amazing Teresa Palmer back to the horror fold after several movies including Wolf Creek, Lights Out, and The Grudge 2. Palmer has proved that with the correct material, playing into her fear comes easy. Yes, The Twin undoubtedly serves as further evidence that Palmer is a lovely fit for the genre. Yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that ultimately something is missing. The Twin feels like a discount-bin mash-up of Rosemary’s Baby and The Babadook.
When a sudden car accident claims the life of her son, Nathan, Rachel (Palmer) and her husband, Anthony (Steven Cree), move to a huge home in the Finnish countryside with the surviving twin child, Elliot (Tristan Ruggeri). A change of scenery may be just what the doctor ordered, at least as a temporary balm. Of course, the scars of trauma run deeper than surface level. Elliot doesn’t understand why they have left Nathan behind. Rachel insists “your dad and I really miss Nate the same way you do,” and “he’s with us always.” Elliot eerily responds: “who did we bury then?” Elliot clings to memories of Nathan, including his toys, and does not want to soldier on without his brother.
Elliot’s mental state seems to take another toll when his strange behavior grows colder by the second. As an added layer, Rachel’s emotional state seems to also take a beating. Recurring, bizarre nightmares recollecting cult activity drive Rachel to be convinced that Elliot may be possessed. The townspeople, many of whom appear to not even speak English, provide little help beyond further diagnosis on possession. Is Rachel just crazy? Has something evil taken hold of Elliot’s body? How can one separate fact from fiction when unable to have a firm grasp on reality?
The Twin is not an awful movie by any means, but it is also not a particularly good one either. It skirts from one genre cliche to the next, accompanied by a sinister score and a committed performance from Teresa Palmer. One will be left with mostly a shrug as the twists come fast and furious in the movie’s home stretch. It feels like too little too late. I look forward to seeing whatever horror project Palmer will tackle next, one that will hopefully bring big thrills and chills.
The Twin invades the mind, body, and soul when it debuts exclusively to Shudder on Friday, May 6th.