The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Shudder] - THE TWIN | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Shudder] - THE TWIN

the twin review
Relocating to rural Finland, a grieving mother finds herself at the centre of a sinister plot.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Taneli Mustonen

Starring: Teresa Palmer, Steven Cree, Tristan Ruggeri, Barbara Marten

the twin poster

Having scored a breakout cult hit with his 2016 slasher Lake Bodom, Finnish director Taneli Mustonen makes his English language debut with The Twin. Set in his native country, it's a movie that mixes Finnish folk traditions with a hefty dollop of American horror movie clichés.

the twin review

Set in the 1970s, presumably to avoid the storytelling inconveniences of modern communications devices, The Twin concerns grieving parents Rachel (Teresa Palmer) and Anthony (Jason Clarke lookalike Steven Cree), whose young son Nathan died in a car accident. Nathan's twin brother Elliot (Tristan Ruggeri) survived the accident and finds himself uprooted when his parents relocate from New York to Anthony's ancestral home in rural Finland.

It's here that the movie enters the realm of folk-horror, with a setting more in tune with the 1870s than the 1970s. The taciturn locals take to Anthony but keep a cold distance from Rachel. They have odd practices like a "ceremonial wedding swing" that Rachel finds disturbing. At night Rachel dreams of the villagers subjecting her to a sinister ritual. Only an eccentric elderly Englishwoman, Helen (Barbara Marten), is friendly towards Rachel, whom she seems to view as a kindred spirit. Denounced as crazy by the rest of the village, Helen warns Rachel that something evil is coming for her surviving son, who is now claiming to be Nathan.

the twin review

So many familiar tropes are present here that you could almost play horror movie bingo while watching The Twin. Despite a committed performance by Palmer – who has played similar roles in Wolf Creek, Lights Out and The Grudge 2 – Rachel is a one-note horror heroine, the classic young wife whose husband thinks she's mad, and much of the movie follows the Rosemary's Baby template. Then we have the creepy kid in the form of her possibly possessed son, which leads us of course into the demonic possession sub-genre. Things go full Wicker Man in the final act as Mustonen amps up the folk-horror.

the twin review

With its pedestrian pacing and an over-reliance on characters explaining the plot, The Twin never quite manages to make anything exciting from its various borrowed ingredients. Despite a fantastic setting, Mustonen rarely builds much in the way of atmosphere. The horror is rarely constructed through visuals, rather we're asked to take certain characters' word for it that something spooky is afoot. This makes sense when the movie finally reveals its hand with a late twist that will likely provoke groans from most viewers, but that's scant compensation for those of us who settled in to watch what we presumed was a supernatural horror movie.

The Twin
 is on Shudder from May 6th.

2022 movie reviews