The Twin is one of those Shudder originals where, if you were watching it streaming, you'd probably give up halfway through because the concept seems so completely absurd. However, it is worth sticking with. Kinda.
Soon after the death of one of their sons, Rachel (Teresa Palmer) and Anthony (Steven Cree) move with their surviving son Elliot (Tristan Ruggeri) to Anthony's childhood home in Finland. Director and writer Taneli Mustonen sets the era in the late 90s, with the slightly bizarre visual choice of showing the World Trade Centre behind the graveyard as they attend deceased child Nathan's funeral. This later becomes plot relevant, as the characters are very rarely connected to technology, but initially it seems fairly pointless.
The moving itself also presents a conundrum: why would you take a child who is used to having someone with him virtually 24 hours a day, who is grieving, to another country where he doesn't speak the language? Surely, he will be shockingly isolated. Though this does begin to explain some of his bizarre behaviour.
The town they have moved to is rumoured to have a rich pagan tradition, and there is a rock in the middle of a lake with cave paintings where you can touch them and make a wish. Elliot does this, and though we don't hear it, the wish he makes is pretty obvious.
A local English lady, Helen (Barbara Marten) tells Rachel that Elliot's wish has come true, and that the locals are hoping to use Elliot for a ritual that will raise their own pagan deity who looks suspiciously like Baphomet. So far so messy.
Elliot's behaviour escalates, he keeps insisting that Nathan is there, and then that he himself is Nathan. Rachel is pulled into this fantasy and begins to lose her own control on reality. Progressing into a Rosemary's Baby-esque final act that turns what we have seen before on its head, whilst also legitimising… most of it.
The performances from Palmer and Ruggeri are both excellent, however Cree seems to be phoning in most of his lines… again though this could be a plotting choice. A huge amount of seeing The Twin through requires you to roll with the acting and the plot until all is finally revealed.
How you feel about The Twin rests entirely on whether you are able to forgive what comes before when you are shown the final act. As a female viewer, it's frustrating to see female characters in grief reduced to hysteria and insanity- it's been done too many times. But that being said there is something satisfying about how everything comes together at the end. It's just whether that lengthy set up (and at 108 minutes it is quite lengthy for a film of this type) is worth it.
The Blu-ray disc includes an eight-minute making of featurette which provides some insight on how the actors approached their roles, it's worth a watch but not until after the film because it's spoiler city.
Overall, The Twin is testing of its audience, and relies really heavily on viewers suspending belief for long enough to see it through.
Shudder Original The Twin arrives on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital 3 October 2022