Seconds Apart (2011)

JANUARY 29, 2011


I’m surprised there aren’t more twin horror movies. The basic facts about twins are kind of creepy (to me anyway) – their oft-reported seeming telepathy (one twin is hurt, and the other can sense it hundreds of miles away), the fact that they dress/groom alike, etc. So basically, it doesn’t take too much exaggeration to turn their story into a horror film like Seconds Apart, which focuses on a pair of teenaged twins who possess the ability to cloud/warp/control the minds of those around them. And this being a horror movie and not a porno, they don’t use this to get laid. Fools!

No instead they kill folks, usually for some sort of petty revenge, such as four jock douchebags that they kill in the opening scene by “convincing” them to play Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun. A lesser film would make it more of a mystery, with the hero/the audience thinking only one twin was responsible and spending the movie trying to figure out which (or worse, springing the twin as a “surprise” in the 3rd act), so I liked that the movie tells us right off the bat that both of these kids are evil. However, a girl comes along, and their relationship starts to crumble, which leads to a weakening of their power and thus unveils some secrets about their nature.

I must admit, there’s a great twist in the film that I never even considered for a second, and made me want to go back and watch the film again (I still might, if time allows). I always love being fooled, especially when it’s not an out of nowhere but still clichéd “twist” (i.e. he was dead the whole time, it was all a dream, etc). I just wish the film was grabbing my attention as well throughout more of its running time. The stuff with the girl is fine, but it slows the film down some, and takes a bit long to get to the point where the boys begin turning on each other, which is something you KNOW will happen even before the girl enters the picture. It sort of feels like the first act takes up more than half the movie, with the 2nd and 3rd acts somewhat squished together. Given the fact that the film has a more complex plot and deeper characters than the other films in this year’s crop, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a longer cut of the film on an AVID somewhere (as it runs the same 80-odd minutes that the other, less complicated films in the series do).

Another nice surprise was Orlando Jones’ turn as the cop who is investigating the initial murders and quickly zeroes in on the twins. He is known mainly for comedic roles (or as the friggin 7UP pitchman), so I was a bit puzzled by his casting at first, but he really did some great dramatic work with minimal humor (his fondness for Bazooka Joe comics is pretty much the extent of his levity). His character has a past tragedy, and he sells the obligatory flashbacks to this event as well as any traditional choice for this sort of thing, even when saddled with some rather silly hallucination/dream sequences, such as when he has visions of being trapped in a snow globe.

I was also impressed with the acting ability of Gary and Edmund Entin as the twins (actual twins - take that, Fincher!). At the start of the film, it’s impossible to tell them apart, but as the divide between them deepens, so does their demeanor, and thus it becomes a bit easier to tell which is which (even when one impersonates the other!). Eventually one changes his appearance, which serves both as a good plot point as well as an easier way to follow the action during their climactic battle, but before that point it was rarely an issue for me (after they start drifting apart I mean). Nice work, fellas.

See, this is the type of film I would love to see After Dark championing more often. It’s not perfect (again, the pacing is a bit wonky, and some of the explanation for their “powers” is a bit muddled), but it’s far from generic cookie cutter crap. Even Husk, which I liked a bit more, is basically another teen slasher/killer scarecrow movie, one that could have gotten a release on its own if it had a few names in it (hell, if 2005’s Venom could get a theatrical release...). But this is a bit smarter, and a bit harder to market, and thus wouldn’t have much of a chance (high school students killing jocks is hardly the most enticing prospect) of a decent release, and would be passed over on store shelves in favor of whatever Twilight wannabe was next to it. As with Dread or even going back to the first year’s The Hamiltons (which I didn't exactly love, but was at least not "typical" of anything) it’s the type of offbeat horror film with strong dramatic elements that I’d like to see more often, and kudos to ADF for putting it through production over what I’m sure were more commercially attractive options.

What say you?

1 comment:

  1. I agree with many of your points, the pacing is slow and some of the story lines aren't that clear. I've watched the film several times now and I've managed to find something new in the story that I had not noticed before. I like Orlando Jones in a serious role for a change and he did a good job. This movie put some interest in twins for me and there should be more twin horror movies around, it's a theme rarely explored. I suppose it can be very hokey if not approached right, but Seconds Apart worked the theme well.

    I would have liked more details around all the abilities the twins were capable of, they hint at a few different ones but it's never really explained on screen by any of the characters. I tend to dislike After Dark films, but I was surprised with Husk and The Hamiltons albeit they have pretty common themes they add freshness to dated ideas.


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