Review: Twixt / Cert: 15 / Director: Francis Ford Coppola / Screenplay: Francis Ford Coppola / Starring: Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning / Release Date: October 28th
Francis Ford Coppola has created some of the finest cinema in history with films like Apocalypse Now and The Godfather Parts 1 and 2. In recent years, after Jack, he has tried to regain some credibility by making low-key independent dramas such as Youth Without Youth and Tetro. His latest film, Twixt, was originally intended to be an experimental piece where he would be behind the scenes when the film played, messing with the edit and changing scenes depending on the mood of the audience. This ultimately proved too ambitious and the delays in production meant that Coppola had to lock an edit, which in retrospect should have been abandoned altogether.
Twixt finds low-rent bereaved horror novelist Hall Baltimore (Kilmer) ending up in a strange small town which features a clock with seven faces all telling different times. Through dreams and the attentions of a wannabe novelist sheriff, Hall starts uncovering the mystery of a murdered girl who he encounters in ghostly fashion. This all has a connection to his own tragic past as well as a potential new story idea.
Right off the bat you should know that Twixt is awful. Even if you did have Coppola in attendance messing around behind the scenes, it’s difficult to see how this could improve what is ultimately a shambles. Val Kilmer is solid but has nothing to work with. He just stands around in the poorly framed and poorly shot scenes as things happen around him with no coherence, no thought and a genuine contempt for audiences who love horror. Coppola invokes Edgar Allan Poe and Hammer horror, but clearly has no real affection for any of it; it just serves as a backdrop to a film that feels like a student effort that should have gone straight to YouTube.
To be fair to the film, there are one or two laughs and Bruce Dern as the Sheriff is good value, even though at his age he seems to have trouble walking and his talents would be better served elsewhere. There is also a nice use of colour in some of the dream sequences. None of this is enough though in a film which feels like watching your granddad dance to dubstep at a party in an effort to be ‘down with the kids’.
Twixt is a film best forgotten by all those involved and is a major blotch on an otherwise solid career. It doesn’t even have any value as a camp or ‘so bad it's good’ movie. Hard to believe that Coppola once directed Bram Stoker's Dracula and somehow twenty years later turned this out. Avoid.