Andrew (Jase Blankfort) and his older brother Carl (Trey Rogers) enjoy listening to ghost stories that the local undertaker (Frank Langella) tells them. One night he tells the tale of a ...
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Andrew (Jase Blankfort) and his older brother Carl (Trey Rogers) enjoy listening to ghost stories that the local undertaker (Frank Langella) tells them. One night he tells the tale of a local farmer whose wife gave birth to Siamese twins, one being good natured while the other was clearly evil. The farmer, ashamed of them, kept the twins locked in their room. Eventually the twins got sick and died together, so the farmer sawed them in half and buried the good twin in a cemetery and the bad twin in a shallow grave near the house. Later, Carl and his friends decide to hold a séance in the cemetery where the good twin is buried, but they unintentionally awaken the bad twin instead. Gradually, he possesses nearly everyone in town and it is up to young Andrew to stop him.Written by
When a film gains a certain reputation, it makes many curious to see it, to find out whether it lives up to the hype or not. This is especially true of previously banned or lost films, as being allowed to see them for the first time makes you interested whether the fuss surrounding it is truly worth it or rather a means to an end. The latter can definitely be applied to this film, as it's inept in every way possible, with its awful storytelling, characterization and a lack of truly anything scary.
Ironically, its supposed reputation of being too scary was what originally got it lost/banned by Nickelodeon in the first place. Initially, this TV movie was meant to be a children's horror movie, in similar vein to other 90's children's horror shows like Goosebumps or Nickelodeon's own Are You Afraid Of The Dark? However, the film became controversial when many parents complained that the film's content was too scary for children, and because of this, Nickelodeon never re-released it again. No re-airing, no VHS/DVD release, nothing. Because of this, many became curious to see the film again, and many sought after it, even leading to an awful creepypasta story being written about it. It took 11 years for the film to resurface, after Nickelodeon reaired it after it was leaked online.
But sadly, that backstory is far more interesting than the film itself. Firstly, the story (whereby two brothers resurrect an evil twin who possesses people and causes chaos in their town) is quite weak. Despite a strong and quite spooky opening, the story is very poorly written, with plot holes (e.g. why does no-one question a semi-naked child running through the streets? why does someone try to run over a possessed dog despite it being on top of someone?) and how it rips off many other films for its story, whether it be Evil Dead (the twin being resurrected by a tape recording), Village of the Damned (the possessed having bright blue eyes) or Invasion of the Body Snatchers (some of the possessed change personality into a duller version of themselves). It's a shame, as for every original idea the film has (i.e. the spirit being released through a root growing out of the grave), it steals 2 or 3 from somewhere else, with little subtly.
Another problem is that not many of the characters are likable. The main character is alright, if nothing special, but his arrogant, borderline abusive brother is absolutely hateful, and you'll want him to die as soon as possible. His parents are awful too, the mother being too overprotective, the father being too liberal and neither of them caring about their children much including never checking on them when they're in their room for a few hours at the least. The supporting cast aren't great either, and mainly consist of stereotypes that you'll bore of quickly. Whether this would be the attitude-filled girls that the main characters have a crush on, the young Lord of the Rings nerd or an elder character who is so prepared to prove himself to be tough but turns out to be even more frightened than his younger companion. The only character you'll gain any sympathy for is Frank Langella's undertaker. He gets the movie's best lines (his "run" joke is genuinely funny), is the warmest character & Langella plays it very well, becoming the best thing in this by a country mile.
It doesn't help that for something like this, the film isn't scary at all. I assume that those who complained were a fascist Mary Whitehouse/James Ferman type group, as despite the dark backstory of the evil twin (having been kept hidden away all his life for being a Siamese twin and being sawed off and buried after death), there is nothing scary in this film. This is mainly due to how lame the twin is. Firstly, much of his attack consists of knocking over letter boxes and throwing fizzy drink bottles at cars, which while a nuisance seem more suited to Dennis the Menace than a scary villain like this, and his attacks against the main characters (i.e. a bull attack and a combine harvester) while threatening, aren't particularly scary, or worse than anything seen in an Indiana Jones movie. It also doesn't help that when he is encountered at the film's end, it's an anticlimax, as his character's OTT acting seems more fitting if he was in the 1980 Flash Gordon film and his behavior is more odd than spine chilling, as he just eats worms all day, and possesses people through said worms. The content is no worse than the aforementioned 90's children's horror shows or the 80's children's horror films like Gremlins or The Goonies, for instance. Quite frankly, the worst this movie ever gets in terms of content is when a kid says that they would like to raise Princess Diana from the dead, which feels slightly tasteless (I'm a British viewer after all) and out of place with the rest of the film.
It's a shame, because this movie does have a lot going for it. The film is still very well-made for a TV movie, the opening is very spooky and gets you interested in the story, the music by Andrew Barrett (no relation to Syd, I can assure you) is quite good (despite occasional out of place metal music here and there), the acting from the cast is top-notch for the most part, some of the ideas are quite clever, and Frank Langella is the standout in this film, and his bits of the film are usually the best. However, despite these standout elements, they don't form to create a whole, and the movie is very problematic otherwise, and is mostly inept because of it. Despite its controversy, it isn't a good film, and the fact that Nickelodeon buried it for this long tells you all you need to know. Avoid.
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