20th Century Fox / 2011 / 88 mins / NR
TWIXT was written, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The same Francis Ford Coppola who made THE CONVERSATION, THE GODFATHER, APOCALYPSE NOW, PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED, BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA and a host of other great and classic films. I felt that I should point that out right up front because it is hard to believe the same person who made those movies could have had anything to do with TWIXT, let alone be the sole voice behind it.
Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer) is the author of a fading series of supernatural books about witches. He has been booked for an appearance to promote the latest installment in the isolated town of Swann Valley, a town so small they don't have a bookstore; his appearance is in a corner of the hardware store. While none of the townsfolk give him even half a glance, the town's sheriff, Bobby LaGrange (Bruce Dern,) is extremely keen to co-write a novel with him about a current series of murders. Baltimore finally agrees to help write "The Vampire Executions" and starts researching around the town. However the way Baltimore gets inspired to write is to drink until he passes out and then adapt his dreams to his story. When he dreams in Swann Valley, he meets Edgar Allan Poe (Ben Chaplin) and the ghostly vision of a 12-year-old known only as "V" (Elle Fanning) and witnesses the dark secret the town has buried for decades.
TWIXT trundles along for its 88 minute running time (which oddly feels much longer) with such an air of randomness that is hard to invest any interest into the things we are shown. The "drama" of Baltimore's wife threatening to sell his first edition copy of Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" to pay the bills, the mystery of the group of (unintentionally) hysterical "goth" kids living across the lake, the current serial killer problem (who impales his victims with giant wooden stakes) is oddly kept on the sidelines of the narrative... just everything about this script feels like it was half developed and then thrown into a blender in hopes that it would all mesh.
Everyone in the cast seems to be giving it their all but with no character development or character arc, they just seem to be spinning their wheels. Dern is always enthusiastic craziness, Fanning is wistfully eerie, Chaplin is probably much more sober than Poe ever was, and Kilmer just seems to be riding with whatever is happening in the scene. They are all very one-note. Just like the movie as a whole: one very wrong note enthusiastically played to death.
The anamorphic 2.00 transfer is fine, I think. The image has been extremely manipulated in post-production and nothing is consistent, which may very well be intentional. Colors are frequently washed out or in a hazy black/blue and white with only one or two specific items in a bold red (the dream/ghost sequences). Detail ranges from razor sharp to foggy blurs. I'm going to assume it looks exactly as Coppola intended it to look and leave it at that.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is a bit easier to review: It's okay. Dialogue and music are clear as a bell and well mixed, ambience is nice and creepy. This isn't a particularly active mix so don't expect ghostly sounds popping out of speakers left and right.
The sole supplement does little to make sense of this mess. "TWIXT: A Documentary by Gia Coppola" is over half an hour of fly on the wall footage shot by Francis' granddaughter on the set.
TWIXT may not be the worst movie of the year but it is certainly the worst movie from Francis Ford Coppola. The stellar cast looks lost and the film looks as if a first year film student went crazy with color timing. This is 88 minutes of your life you won't get back.