According to the imdb, Fred Olen Ray is, as of this writing, credited with directing 148 films. Few of those films have necessarily been acclaimed by the mainstream critics but almost all of them are a lot of fun when taken on their own terms.
Take The Twin for instance, on which Ray shares a directing credit with screenwriter Max Derin.
Now, in many ways, The Twin is a ludicrous film. It’s very, very melodramatic and the whole film’s central issue (i.e., which twin is which) could have been very easily resolved if just one person in the movie had used a little common sense.
But you know what?
Criticism like that misses the entire point of the film. The Twin is a lot of fun and it’s certainly not a film that’s meant to be taken seriously. This is not a serious look at mental illness, young love, sibling rivalry, or anything else for that matter. This is an over-the-top and rather silly piece of pure entertainment and, if we can’t enjoy something like that, what hope is there for the world?
The film deals with Tyler (Timothy Granaderos), who would seem to be almost perfect. He’s handsome. He’s intelligent. He’s compassionate. He’s a wonderful boyfriend, always polite and considerate to his girlfriend, Jocelyn (Jess Gabor). Even Jocelyn’s overprotective mother, Ashley (Brigid Brannah), seems to like him.
However, Tyler has a secret. Years ago, his parents were killed in a car accident. The accident was caused by Tyler’s brother, Derrick. As you may have guessed from the film’s title, Derrick is Tyler’s twin. And we all know that, whenever a movie is called The Twin, that means that there’s going to be a good twin and an evil twin. It turns out that Derrick is the evil twin and that accident was no accident.
Derrick has spent the last few years in a mental asylum. When Tyler shows up to visit his brother, the staff tells Tyler that Derrick has picked up a strange new habit. He’s telling everyone that he’s actually Tyler and Tyler is Derrick. Oh well, Tyler shrugs, that’s what happens when you’ve got a sociopathic twin.
Later, when Tyler is alone with his twin, he’s shocked when Derrick attacks him. Derrick knocks him out and then switches clothes with him. Claiming to be Tyler, Derrick walks out of the hospital and into the lives on Jocelyn and Ashley. Meanwhile, Tyler is stuck in the hospital, begging for someone to just give him a blood test so that he can prove who he is….
Anyway, you can probably guess what happens next but that’s part of the fun. Derrick (as Tyler) spends a lot of good, quality time with Ashley and Jocelyn, both of whom are surprised by how different “Tyler’s” personality seems to now be. Ashley, of course, is more suspicious than Jocelyn. (This film premiered on Lifetime so you better believe that overprotective mom is eventually proven right.)
It may be predictable but, like I said, it’s all a lot of fun. I don’t know which parts of the film were directed by Derin and which parts by Fred Olen Ray but, as a whole, the film is cheerfully content to be a B-movie and you have to kind of love it for that. At a time when everyone is taking everything so seriously and so many filmmakers are giving into portentous pretension, it’s nice to see a thriller that’s pure entertainment.
Plus, Timothy Granaderos is a lot of fun as both Tyler and Derrick. Tyler is nice but kind of dull. Derrick is exciting but totally batshit crazy. Granaderos seems to be enjoying himself as he switches back and forth between being good and evil. An evil twin movie is only as good as its twins and Granaderos is pretty good.
So, keep an eye out for The Twin. Melodrama this enjoyable should not be missed.