The Twin is the English language debut from Finnish director Taneli Mustonen. While he’s been blowing up on the World scene for the last five years, he’s flying under a lot of radars. Although pastoral horror has been experiencing quite the comeback over the last few months, I can see how a lot of people aren’t going to enjoy this one. But, why is that?
Modern horror writers and film fans will want to push for elevated horror trappings in The Twin. However, this kind of story belongs closer to the second feature conceptual horror of the early 1970s. Never quite clear, but always interesting. In this feature, the concept that keeps getting hammered home is the mystical bizarre trappings of dead twins and their ties to what lies beyond.
If you thought Turning Red was going to illicit strange takes on 9/11, then get ready for your average YouTube trying to mine all 3 years of their combined film knowledge to make it work here. The familiar trappings of pastoral horror are on blast here. You have a rural setting, a kid doing peculiar things and a random elderly citizen who seems to know more than they should. All the while, the helpless parental figure bounces around trying to make sense of it all.
For modern cinema viewers, The Twin is going to frustrate the living hell out of them. But, The Twin is the kind of movie that rewards intelligent viewers expecting refined tales of the supernatural. Are they reinventing the wheel here? Of course not, but there’s something about spooky kids that makes everyone’s skin crawl around the world.
So, why should you watch The Twin? Well, it boils down to how you experience horror. Does it have to say something to you or create an environment that induces terror into you? Some people will fall into either bracket, but the majority of people linger in-between. That’s the problem with a film genre that depends on the experience of emotional enticement vs. cerebral undertakings. There’s room for both, but the response is always going to be measured differently.
The Twin is going to get compared to 1972’s The Other…a lot. Well, it’s going to be compared by people that watch movies from before 2000. Twilight Time picked this one up and released it to Blu-ray a few years ago. It might have gone Out of Print, but I recommend checking it out over at Screen Archives, if it is still there.
Well, The Other is a movie about twins acting weird in a rural setting much like The Twin. While the current film deals heavier into the supernatural and symbolic leanings, The Other takes the same story and cuts it more like TV-movie horror. Both have their merits, but The Twin wants you to work harder to find resolution.
The Twin comes to Shudder this week and I can’t think of a better film to open the summer movie season. Mainly because you’re going to find the people that think Doctor Strange 2 is horror and get annoyed by this movie. Sometimes, that’s all horror fans need. Is it a purity test? Kinda. Does it mean that The Twin is great horror? Not really.
What one ultimately takes away from The Twin is based in their ability to follow a ghost story. Is there a twist ending? Kinda, but it depends on your ability to follow a film narrative. What matters most is that I enjoyed the film, but I’m not sure when I’m going to revisit it. That being said, if you love pastoral horror…then you’re going to love The Twin.