A dread fuelled Scandi-horror that blends elements of Midsommar and Rosemary’s Baby to creepy effect, The Twin is another of Shudder Original’s scary successes. A tragic car accident claims the life of a child – a twin – whose devastated parents Rachel and Anthony, played by Teresa Palmer and Steven Cree, relocate to a town in Finland with remaining child Elliot in a bid to find some peace.
Yet all is not as it seems in this beautifully shot rural idyll: could Elliot’s twin Nathan still be around, possibly possessing his sibling (both children are played creepily by Tristan Ruggeri)? The villagers, too, are sinister – one ostracized woman, Barbara Marten’s Helen, is convinced there are demonic events at play. She gives Rachel her own potted history of suspicion and tragedy, which initially seems laughable but gains in resonance. Pagan circles are everywhere, toy labyrinths are exhumed, Rachel chokes on corn stalks hidden in milk and it seems as if her numb, somehow stunted husband has signed up to the demonic cause.
The plot of The Twin unravels in surprising ways and remains unnerving throughout, without resorting to cheap gore or scare tactics. People gather in woods, rooms are full of elder townfolk and there’s a memorable torch-lit ceremony which turns very uncomfortable. Writers Mustonen and Aleksi Hyvarinen keep events ambiguous; dream sequences unsettle as does a breathy soundscape and Daniel Lindholm’s cinematography as the camera creeps around a house, wades through a waving cornfield or reveals a pitch black lake.
The intimate story of a grieving family is never lost amidst the unease, however, with Palmer doing an admirable job of keeping the audience guessing about what is real and what is not. Genuinely chilling and emotionally resonant, The Twin is a handsome horror.
Dir: Taneli Mustonen (15, 108 mins)
The Twin is streaming on Shudder from Fri 6 May
words KEIRON SELF
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