Halloween Endurance Test: Twitches (2005)

I don’t want to say Disney’s not prepared to make horror movies, but Twitches is a mess. First there was the trailer on the Halloweentown DVDs. A variation on the old “Who’s on First” routine, the trailer had stars Tia and Tamera Mowry talking about how they are twin witches. Hence “Twitches.” Get it? ‘Cuz if you didn’t, they were set to repeat 90 more times. “Twitches; twin witches!”

When I finally broke down and bought a copy, within five minutes of starting the movie, characters were hopping around dimensions. And running from evil clouds. The Sister, Sister twins play Apolla/Camryn (Tamera) and Artemis/Alex (Tia) here; twins born on Halloween-one aligned with the sun, the other the moon. They each have a separate power that’s sort of related: Apolla is a gifted artist, and Artemis a writer.

To escape the aforementioned ominous-looking storm clouds that have invaded their home diminution of Coventry (okay, you have to love that name!), helpers split Apolla and Artemis apart; launching them into another dimension. Where, 21 years later, they’re reunited and quickly realize they’re related. And witches.

Artemis: “I’m driving in a Porsche with my twin sister. Magic truly seems to be the logical explanation.”

That, my friends, is how they figure out how they’re connected. 20 minutes earlier and they were both only children. Immediately after meeting, they’re certain they were separated at birth. 20 minutes after that, and they’ve pieced together their Coventry history from all the short stories Artemis writes when she wakes up. Apparently her dreams are actually the dimension’s history replaying in her head.

(Amazingly, 20 minutes after that, and Apolla tells her adoptive mother about her twin sister and other-dimensionality. Her adoptive mom naturally accepts this; without a hint of hesitation or “I’m gonna make my daughter take a piss test”-type sentiment.)

The epic "What.Ever.Loser" signing showdown.

This reliance on dreams to explain away the present makes one wonder, if one girl can relive the past perfectly, while the other can only draw pictures from the impressions she’s received, wouldn’t there be some jealousy involved? I mean, one sister obviously got screwed in the “powers” department. Here’s a pencil drawing of the alternative dimension that my sister is going to tell you everything about. Surely you don’t need me anymore, but then would we still be twins? Twins with magical powers?

Discussing their memories of childhood, the sisters discover that their biological father is dead, but their mother is missing. A rift develops when Artemis wants to track down their mother, who they find out is being hunted by “the darkness,” and Apolla who just wants to go back to her adoptive parents.

This is the scariest "bad guy" in the film.

Okay, I understand this is a Disney movie, and as such isn’t going to be on a Entrails of a Virgin-level of debauchery. But no conflict at all? The only instance of “conflict” here is the sisters’ disagreement over whether they should find their birth mother. The “evil” cloud of “darkness” is feared just ‘cuz it is, not because of anything it’s done.

I don’t know whether I should be shocked and impressed, or shocked and dismayed. Making a film with absolutely no antagonists is quite a risky move. Were they banking on everyone being scared of losing their own mothers?

The climatic showdown is anything but. The dark clouds circle overhead as the sisters hold hands and chant slogans about love. Which causes balls of energy to fly up, eventually dispersing the cloud. The end. (There’s also a double-cross around this time, from a character so inconsequential that you’d be hard pressed to remember who he was.)

Lack of “action” aside, it is interesting that watching Twitches made me ponder how witches might be one of the “horror” genre’s last remaining outpost’s for genuine scares. Vampires are everywhere, and werewolves, well, werewolves try real hard to be scary. But other than the pedophile-bait the Craft, not much has been made with witches. I mean, I assume the infamous Halloween III: Season of the Witch has something to do with witchcraft, but I don’t ever plan on finding out. (Not due to its awful reputation, but mainly because I’m not a fan of the “good” Halloween films either.) I guess you could make a case that the Satanist portion of Paranormal Activity 3 has a witchcraft-y angle though. Which would make that film perhaps the king of this particularly small hill.

—More Teen Witches, Fuck It, Twitches—

Twitches Too

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