Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Halloween Movie Month: Twixt

Twixt (2011)
Netflix instant

Twixt is about a faltering author (Val Kilmer) who is stuck in a rut and looking for inspiration for his next book. While on a book tour promoting his current book, one of his stops is a small town where he becomes embroiled in a murder mystery and a sinister history of the town.

Twixt starts with shots of the town and narration giving some of the history that has the town enveloped in ghost stories - a serial killing, a haunted bell tower, devil-worshiping teenagers, a haunted hotel, and so on.  I really enjoyed the opening sequence because I think that the narration helped to give the story more of a classic horror feel.  Of course, it helped that the narrator was Tom Waits.

Following the opening sequence, I was mostly disappointed in the movie.  It is described on Netflix as a "gothic horror" directed by Francis Ford Coppola.  From that alone, the movie should have been amazing.  However, it failed to impress me.  There were a few scenes that I really enjoyed:  Val Kilmer drinking and writing in his hotel room was amusing, the use of color in the "dream" sequences was interesting, and there are a couple scenes that were genuinely creepy and extremely well executed.  But, outside of those scenes, the overall movie was underwhelming.

I think that one of the things that was most frustrating was that Coppola could have done so much more with it to make it a stand-out gothic horror in the midst of modern gore.  There were a lot of the right elements and it was being told in a way that was definitely unique, but I never really felt like those elements went anywhere or were fully actualized.  All that being said, that might have actually been part of the point.  The story is about an author that keeps writing the same type of story over and over again.  So, maybe the setting (and the horror tropes that were never fully actualized) was there to help solidify the tone of outplayed stereotypes??

I think that one of the biggest problems was that I went into Twixt under the impression that it was a horror movie.  Wanting (and expecting) horror, Twixt did not quite satisfy my needs.  It felt more like a slightly offbeat comedy that drew heavily from literary inspiration with a dash of horror.  If I was doing an Art House month, I think that I actually would have enjoyed it a lot more.  Overall, it was not a bad movie - it just was not an appropriate movie to help set the mood for Halloween.  After watching the movie, I did a little (admittedly, very little) research into it.  Having done so, I have more of an appreciation for some of the artistic decisions.  But that's just it...it's more of an artistic movie than a horror movie.  That is not to say that horror movies cannot be artistic or that artistic movies cannot be terrifying (The House of the Devil comes immediately to mind - check out my review to see why).  However, I feel as though Twixt stays too far on the artistic side to be a fully enjoyable horror movie.

Rating and Recommendation:  2/5.  For Halloween Movie Month, Twixt is a pass as it will fail to satisfy your horror needs.  However, if you are in the mood for an art house movie with just a dash of horror, Twixt is worth checking out.  It will not be the most amazing movie that you have ever seen, but there will be some aspects that will be enjoyable/analyzable for those of you who study film.  It's all about the expectations and what kind of movie you are in the mood to see.

Be sure to check back soon for more reviews in Halloween Movie Month!  In the meantime, leave comments on this (or any other) review, follow me here and on twitter (@GargyleReviews), and let me know what movies you'd like for me to review for Halloween Movie Month!

- The Gargyle

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