Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer) is an alcoholic and struggling horror novelist, who’s stuck in a deep depression after his young daughter’s untimely death. The latest entry in his witch hunting series is a failure, and Hall’s overzealous wife, Denise (Joanne Whalley) is trying to figure out a solution for the stacks of overdue bills.
Desperate, Hall agrees to host a book signing in a small town’s hardware store. Eventually, Hall teams up with the local sheriff to write a new horror novel on vampires. But during a series of dreams, Hall uncovers unsolved murder mysteries and the evil intentions of a local gothic cult.
In his dreams, Hall forms a bond with Edgar Allan Poe (Ben Chaplin), and a vampiric girl named V (Elle Fanning). With Poe and V’s help, Hall learns more secrets, and Hall uses his dreams as an inspiration for the new vampire novel. Ignoring all warnings, Hall digs deeper into the mystery during his dreams, while enduring some intense pressure from his antsy publisher. Will Hall succumb to the pressure of producing a new hit? Or is solving the local murder mystery more important?
Some critics peg Godfather III as the beginning of a downfall for Francis Ford Coppola’s career. But those complaints are over exaggerated, because it’s hard (or damn near impossible) to follow in the footsteps of Godfather and Godfather II. No, Jack (that shitty comedy with Robin Williams and Jennifer Lopez) is the low point in Coppola’s career. Unfortunately, you won’t see Godfather III Coppola here. Instead, you’ll see Jack Coppola.
Coppola had great success in the horror genre with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but Coppola’s directing for Twixt isn’t something to brag about. The CGI is very cheap and tacky, the split screen web cam point of view reaches the point of overkill during the early stages of the movie, and the blending of vibrant colors in a black and white setting didn’t do anything for me. During Hall’s dream sequences, you’ll see bright yellow lemons, red splatters of blood, and Edgar Allan Poe’s glowing lantern. Meanwhile, the backdrop of each scene is black and white. This technique didn’t help Twixt‘s frightless atmosphere. The blending of colors just made everything feel more cartoonish.
Coppola will always be remembered as a great director, and rightfully so. But his style for Twixt is VERY bland and dull, and I honestly can’t think of one good jump scare from this film. I think it‘s safe to say we‘ll never see Godfather or Apocalypse Now Coppola again, and Tetro (in 2008 or 2009, I think) was his last watchable film.
I didn’t care about, or like any of the characters here. You can feel for Hall, as the grieving father and struggling writer. But as the story develops, Hall turns into this sleazy douchebag, who’ll do anything to find inspiration for his new book. Elle Fanning’s V is too shallow, and her character receives some of the worst dialogue in this entire movie. The sheriff and his deputy are gullible hillbillies, and the sheriff constantly succumbs to his awestruck feelings for the big-time writer from the city. Denise is the typical nagging and overbearing wife, Hall’s publisher is the pushy boss, and Chaplin’s Poe is a lifeless imitation of the famous poet. The cast deserves a lot of credit for effort, but the characters were poorly written, and I saw one too many stereotypes throughout this film.
Coppola also wrote the screenplay, and Twixt’s muddled story is really frustrating. Twixt is supposed to be a murder mystery with supernatural elements, but it’s hard to stay in suspension of disbelief mode. The story takes so many wild and silly turns, and after a while, I couldn’t take this film seriously anymore. The dialogue veers into campy territory too often, causing some really awkward and unintentional funny moments, and the grand finale is so contrived and underwhelming.
In the end, Twixt is a boring and bland horror film with horrendous special effects, and no real jump scares, suspense, or tension. Jack is still my pick for Coppola’s worst film as director, but Twixt is a close second, and that’s saying something.
Final Rating: 1/10