Director: Taneli Mustonen
Writers: Aleksi Hyvärinen and Taneli Mustonen
Starring: Teresa Palmer, Steven Cree, Barbara Marten, and Tristan Ruggeri
Taneli Mustonen’s latest film is The Twin, a psychological horror as well as Mustonen’s first English language film. It stars Teresa Palmer as Rachel and Steven Cree as Anthony, a married couple who lose one of their son, Nathan, in a car crash and end up moving to Finland for a fresh start. As they start to settle in, Nathan’s twin, Elliot (both twins are played by Tristan Ruggeri) starts to act stranger and stranger, claiming that he is speaking to his brother.
This is a film about grief, mental illness, and the occult. As Elliot starts to act stranger, Rachel suspects that there’s more going on. Her fears are made worse by a local, Helen (Barbara Marten) who tells her the story of her own husband, who was possessed several years ago. Helen fulfils the role of someone who drip feeds information to Rachel about what’s going on, telling her just enough to keep the plot moving, until everything is revealed at the end. When that reveal does happen, even though you can see it coming from the start, it’s still well delivered and really works. The ending doesn’t disappoint at all, and the film goes out on a real strong note.
Teresa Palmer is great as Rachel. She’s struggling with the grief of her dead son while also trying to be there for Elliot. She’s completely believable in the role and you instantly feel connected to her. Steven Cree is also great. At first, he seems a lot more distant, dealing with grief in his own way, but as Rachel’s paranoia starts to grow, she starts to suspect there’s more to it than simple grief.
The film’s biggest strength is the constantly rising atmosphere. At first it feels more like a drama, but as the family move to Finland things start to change and feel more sinister. Taneli Mustonen perfectly creates an unsettling nature to everything and while the film is never close to being scary, there is a really creepy feel to a lot of it. There are a few moments that’ll start to make your skin crawl. The perfect kind of film to watch alone on a dark night, to really add to everything.
A real let down is just how cliched most of it feels. There’s all the usual tropes you’d expect from something like this and very little of it feels fresh. Also, while the ending is great, it does feel like too much time is taken to get there. Some of the tension built is lost as the plot starts to lose its way. Thankfully when the final act gets going everything comes together.
The Twin is a decent horror film, although not completely original it’s still solidly entertaining. If you’ve seen something like the A Tale of Two Sisters, then you’ll see where this is going almost straight away. It’s essentially a more accessible version of that film. If you have a Shudder subscription, it’s worth watching.
The Twin will be available on Shudder from 6th May 2022
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