DVD Review – Twixt (2011)

Twixt, 2011.

Written and Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Starring Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning, Ben Chaplin, Joanne Whalley, David Paymer, Anthony Fusco and Alden Ehrenreich.



Hall Baltimore (Kilmer), a mystery writer whose career has gone downhill, goes on a book signing tour and arrives in a supposedly haunted town where he becomes involved in a murder case on which he is asked to base his next story. As he gradually uncovers the truth behind the case Hall realises his own life may be connected to the murder… 

Bruce Dern and Val Kilmer in Twixt

I feel like every great director has a peak. Francis Ford Coppola reached his peak a long time ago. The only way I can suitable describe Twixt is as a pile of wank.

The film looked fairly promising in its publicity: a film that is more weird and disconcerting than it is scary, with a cast of up-and-comers teamed with established actors.

There is certainly something disconcerting about Twixt. I’d like to think it’s the convoluted plot that leads the audience over a series of obstacles only to find that the goal never existed in the first place. This film has no plot – or rather, it has four or five plots, each of them not given any room to breathe and compressed into one massive clusterf*ck that doesn’t actually really make any sense.

Out “hero”, Hall Baltimore, is a failing mystery writer looking for material for a new book. He comes across a small suburban town where there has recently been a series of gruesome child murders. He teams up with the town sheriff/aspiring writer Bobby LeGrange to write the story. He begins dreaming about a young girl named Virginia, who survived the murders.

The first thing that you notice about the characters in Twixt is that Val Kilmer’s character, Hall, comes off as slightly creepy and uncomfortable to watch. The film draws some arbitrary line between affection and attraction and Hall treads it very carefully with Virginia, who is twelve years old. At points it seems as though he, and the goth clan ring-leader Flamingo (I know) are attracted to Virginia. This is particularly weird when it comes to Hall because he repeatedly associates Virginia with his own dead daughter, Vicky. Meanwhile, Elle Fanning, who is a very beautiful young woman, is made up to look like the corpse bride; caked in so much white make up that she looks like Michael Jackson on his way to an Evanescence concert. The “goths”, too, are so painfully stereotypical, with their leather trousers and eyeliner tears that it would almost be comical if it weren’t so dire.

The settings and locations, meanwhile, come straight out of a nineteenth-century gothic romance novel, which is fine for the purposes of this film, because that’s exactly what it is. Again, though, Coppola uses so many tropes of the genre that the general appearance of the film is exasperatingly amateur. Meanwhile, Edgar Allan Poe seems to keep popping up and quoting The Raven for no apparent reason other than to remind us all how DARK and MYSTERIOUS this film is (it’s not).

The plot seems to unravel unto itself until the audience, the actors, and probably Coppola too, have no effing clue what is going on. The thing is, I would be willing to forgive this film for its various shortcomings, assuming that it’s an indie project on a low budget, perhaps the first venture of a budding director. That is, if it weren’t directed by FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA. I mean, really. Coppola has projectile vomited up his dinner onto some poor wall, and since everything is sticking, he’s keeping all of it. I didn’t get this film, and it’s not because I’m stupid, it’s because the film is stupid. There is absolutely no point to Twixt other than perhaps some artistic experimentation that falls flat on its face. I can’t think of a single demographic that may enjoy Twixt, apart from maybe 12-year-old girls who don’t know any better. The whole thing is made worse simply by Billy LeGrange (hick extraordinaire) insisting that “those darned meddlin’ goth kids with their Satan-worshippin'” are behind the murders. Sincerely one of the worst films I have ever seen. Ever.

Flickering Myth Rating Film ★ / Movie ★

Kirsty Capes

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