Much ado is made of twins in horror films, and the “special bonds” that exist between these unique children seem endlessly ripe for speculation, usually running to the grim and excessive. In a world where uniqueness is prized and symmetry implausible in most cases, the effect of too-similar living beings … unsettles the sensibilities a bit.
So why not turn up the volume on our subconscious dread? Creepy twins, sure! Psychic, you betcha. Telekinetic and control the elements? Check and check. Riding bicycles and sporting a video camera with which to record who knows what garish, violent perversity? One shudders to imagine.
Viewers join “Seconds Apart” with a party – and a crime – already in progress. In the basement, a group of lecherous male students engage in a braggart’s tell-all game, looking up to suddenly find Seth and Jonah (Gary and Edmund Entin) in attendance, bearing their camera, and similarly ready to play.
In the aftermath that typically ensues following a school tragedy, among the grief counselors and wailing coeds is Detective Lampkin (Orlando Jones), a haunted man, quite literally scarred with post-traumatic stress after he failed to rescue his wife from a tragic house fire. Is it too soon for him to return to work? Is he perhaps overly suspicious of the two primly dressed, clean-shaven young men the other students seem to cower from?
Seems these two have a reputation for hanging around with their camera, conveniently capturing moments of mayhem. And for being so subtle in their presence that people frequently forget ever seeing them at all. Upon interrogation by the good detective, they’re as snotty as you’d imagine – but with an underlying menace that bears further inspection.
The rest is a downward spiral of cat-and-mouse featuring bible-quotin’, insulin-injectin’, sentence-finishin’ twins who know how to quite literally get in your head. But what could have been a tired retread of an episode of SUPERNATURAL turns out to be a tidy, creepy little story.
While the twins’ dynamic tires almost immediately (their smug murmurs about various “projects” are never fully explained), it’s suggested that homicidal sociopathy starts at home. Mom and dad (Dallas theatre fave Morgana Shaw and Louis Herthum) seem to Detective Lampkin to be interested co-conspirators, at the very least, but the truth is so much worse than that.
And just as in so many tales of brother versus brother, it all falls to pieces over a girl. Viewers know it’s all going to end in tears – or, more likely, fire and mutilations.
“Seconds Apart” is a well-shot, solidly-acted film that measures its levity against some fairly grisly moments, even risking some potentially eye-rolling concepts (mind control, therapeutic meditation, evil fertility science) with skilled writing and evenly-paced plot. There’s even a twist, largely unneeded but fully effective, that elevates this story well beyond the disappointing, sub-par fare horror fans have resigned themselves to accept from previous ADO / Horrorfest entries.
It’s worth a double-take. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.