David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers, made in 1988, saw him moving away from the conventional horror film. It’s about twins who become gynaecologists, and share everything. Including women. In fact it seems that they don’t really experience anything unless they both experience it. They don’t really see themselves as separate individuals. They think of themselves as being linked just as tightly as Siamese twins, and they even believe that if one of them takes a drug it affects them both. You can’t help suspecting that they became gynaecologists in an attempt to uncover the mystery of reproduction, in particular of their own reproduction which was so abnormal. They almost regard themselves as mutants. Their speciality is infertility – in other words the reproductive system when it goes wrong.
The emotional bond between them is so strong that they seem unable to connect emotionally to anyone else. They don’t need anyone else. Then one day one twin, Beverly, falls in love. He falls in love with a patient, a woman who has a trifurcate uterus – so he can regard her as being a mutant as well, like he and his brother. The situation is complicated by the fact that both twins have been sleeping with this woman, although she isn’t aware that there is more than one. Falling in love with an outsider threatens the emotional balance between the twins, and things start to unravel for them. Jeremy Irons gives a wonderfully disturbing and creepy performance as both twins. There’s very little horror, until the end, but this is a deeply unsettling and extremely good movie.
8 out of 10