Despite some similarities in marketing art, Francis Ford Coppola’s return to the horror genre has little of the impact that Dracula did in the 1990s. Although it is hardly fair to expect the same passion from the filmmaker as he once had, most infamously filming Apocalypse Now, Coppola’s return to cinema feels as though we are forced to watch a filmmaker’s career slowly die. While most filmmakers grow in talent and ability with each film, Coppola seems to be giving us the reverse with his filmography’s end. It goes without saying that this low-budget semi-horror film is unable to match up to the Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now (1979) or even Dracula (1992), but it is much sadder to note that Twixt is a step down in quality from Tetro (2009) and Youth Without Youth (2007) as well.
Val Kilmer stars as Hall Baltimore, a Stephen King hack with a career that is plummeting. Searching for someone to care about his latest book in a small town, Hall discovers a disturbing murder in the town’s history which may be the perfect subject for his new book. His investigation brings him very casually upon the ghost of a young girl involved in the tragedy (Elle Fanning) within his dreams, along with the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe (Ben Chaplin). As he tries to merely steal from the dead for his book, Hall ends up becoming more entangled in the town’s mystery than he intended.
The minimized budget is an understandable explanation for why this film looks so inconsistent, with Coppola’s recognizable style for the film’s more significant sequences and other moments looking as though they were shot with a laptop camera. What is more difficult to understand is how bad the acting is in much of this film. Shouldn’t budget be insignificant with a veteran filmmaker like Coppola? Whether it is laziness or just bad direction, some of the film’s sequences have unbearably performances, and this is all that holds a horror film without scares or action together.
With an 88-minute running time and endless laughs to be had, both intentional and not, the only thing this thriller written, produced and directed by Coppola is missing; thrills. The Blu-ray includes a documentary by Gia Coppola, because God forbid anyone in that family attempts a career other than director.
Entertainment Value: 4/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10
Historical Significance: 4/10
Disc Features: 4/10
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