30 Day Film Challenge – 21. A Terrible Film from a Great Director

If you have clicked the link and watched the video before reading this post, congratulations, you’ve already hit rock bottom so the only way is up from here. The trailer is as bad as the movie, and the movie is bad.

Francis Ford Coppola is a huge name in movies. Back in the late 60s and early 70s, he was instrumental in bringing counterculture to Hollywood. Check out Peter Biskind’s book Easy Riders and Raging Bulls for a fascinating insight into Hollywood’s upheaval and transformation at this time.

You may recognise Coppola from such successes as The Godfather, Apocalypse Now and being Nicolas Cage’s uncle.  The Godfather trilogy (especially the first two but I’m in a small minority in that I like the third) are the finest gangster films alongside the likes of Goodfellas, and Apocalypse Now is a surreal war is hell drug trip. His Dracula is also highly entertaining, despite Keanu Reeves’ atrocious ‘English’ accent. Gary Oldman’s performance in the title role more than makes up for it, and there are some very impressive visuals.

That… was the last good movie he made. And with Twixt, he has reached the nadir of his career.

Twixt is a ‘horror’ film, and a ‘thriller’ film, in the sense that these labels have been applied to the film my the marketers and so that’s what we have to call it. I would have gone with a ‘boring’ film and a ‘steaming pile of crap’ film personally, but that’s why I don’t work in marketing (and blog posts like this are why I don’t work in film reviewing.)

Val Kilmer plays a third rate horror writer who visits a small town while on a book tour and ends up investigating a grisly murder. Sounds clichéd, but interesting. It is, and it isn’t. The pacing of the film is shoddy and there are long stretches where it feels like nothing happens. And then when it does happen, it’s not worth waiting for. There’s some sort of dull mystery going on involving Lost Boys rejects across the way and Bruce Dern’s oddball sheriff, but who cares – there are dream sequences to watch!

And man oh man, the dream sequences are awful. They look like FMV sequences from old games like Phantasmagoria, badly integrated with a flat obviously CG background. Val Kilmer’s character meets a young girl who may or may not be dead and it actually comes across like he’s trying to flirt and it’s just creepy and weird and ugh. And then there are the dull conversations with Edgar Allen Poe, who is definitely dead.

Eventually, the film ends and you just sort of go ‘Oh. Was that it?’.

You might be wondering why I bothered to watch it all the way through if it’s so bad. I like to commit, even to pain. And I was genuinely curious, in a horrified way, as to whether or not it would suddenly turn into a good film. It doesn’t have a shred of Coppola to it, it just feels like a turgid mess.

If you ever have the chance to watch this film, just don’t bother. It’s not even so bad it’s good. It’s so bad it’s bad.


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