Riddle me this: What's worse than a murderous teenager with telepathic abilities? How about murderous twins with telepathic abilities? Yeah, I'd say that's a lot worse.
Jonah (Edmund Entin) and Seth (Gary Entin) are as twins-y as twins can be. They go everywhere together during the day and when night comes, they go to bed wearing matching jammies after having brushed their teeth and hair in unison. Heck, they even sleep facing each other so that their prone bodies mirror each other. They also have plenty of common hobbies. For instance, they enjoy making movies with their tiny handheld camera. Sure, the movies are essentially snuff films but I proudly own a copy of Howard the Duck so who am I to judge? Anyway, back to the twins. Their films feature people dying in gruesome ways as they operate under mental delusions that have been telepathically implanted by the brothers. Did I mention they don't have any friends?
The twins' carefully protected world of two gets a visitor when the new girl at school, Eve (Samantha Droke), takes an interest in Jonah. She thinks he's kind of weird and interesting and wants to know what makes him tick. Another person after the same thing is Detective Lampkin (Orlando Jones) who is investigating the brothers and their role in an involuntary game of Russian roulette that claimed the lives of four boys. He believes they are hiding something and suspects they may possess some sort of evil twin powers. He doesn't know the half of it. You see, when the boys hold hands and put their minds to it, they can make people hallucinate and perform irrational and gruesome acts. This will be a game of cat and mouse (and mouse) that Detective Lampkin won't soon forget.
When I sat down to watch Seconds Apart, I was expecting a quick and dirty trip through horror land with periodic stops at all the usual watering holes. The schlocky premise suggested some stalk and slash sequences with villains that finished each other's sentences. What I got was a whole lot more. This is definitely not the lowest common denominator product that I anticipated having to sit through. Director Antonio Negret has created a moody and visually striking psychological thriller that serves double-duty as a dark coming of age tale. It is a film of unusual intelligence that will surely surprise at least a few horror fans out there.
Working from a well balanced script by George Richards, Negret shows us how creatures in a sealed environment react to unexpected stressors. Eve and Det. Lampkin are the stressors to Jonah and Seth's creatures. Creatures may seem like a strong word but Edmund and Gary Entin play the twins as cold and reptilian things roaming the world in pale skin suits. I assure you, I mean that as a compliment. By establishing just how different they are from everyone around them, it becomes all the more critical when Eve is able to penetrate Jonah's shell. She gives him a taste of what it means to be an individual. Jonah's every step towards Eve is a step away from his dominating older (by 93 seconds) brother.
If Eve is the cause of the first cracks in Jonah and Seth's bond, then Lampkin is the persistent jackhammer that won't quit until the brothers have broken down and revealed their secret. Orlando Jones plays the cop with a mixture of humor and weariness. He is the closest thing we have to a hero in the movie and even he seems defeated right from the start. Even though Lampkin's character is saddled with a tragic backstory, Jones doesn't allow that to be the defining characteristic of the dogged detective.
While Jones and Droke acquit themselves admirably, the stars of the show are definitely the Entin brothers. Among all the assorted horrors of the film, the sneakiest fear is that of betrayal. Watching the symbiotic relationship of two brothers devolve into a grudge match with lethal consequences is utterly believable thanks to the work of Edmund and Gary Entin. They may not get equally expansive character arcs since Jonah shows more growth, but both actors attack their roles with similar passion and gusto. Their work here with Negret ultimately elevates the film to a level of originality that is atypical for the horror genre. That is something they can all be proud of.
The video is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement. While the image is sharp and largely free of defects, I did notice a few instances late in the film where pulsing wavy lines were clearly visible. I was able to replicate the effect on two different A/V setups so I believe the issue lies in the video source. This shouldn't detract from anyone's enjoyment too much but I thought it was worth noting. Other than that, the visual presentation is a decent vehicle for cinematographer Yaron Levy's eye-catching compositions.
The audio was presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 mixes with English and Spanish subtitles. I chose to view the film with the 5.1 surround mix and found it to be clear and balanced. For a change, the rear surrounds and subwoofer all got to play prominent roles. They helped convey Lior Rosner's score with plenty of oomph.
This release only has one significant extra in the form of an Audio Commentary with Director Antonio Negret and Actors Gary and Edmund Entin. With that said, the commentary track is a fun and informative one. All three participants show up with enthusiasm and energy to spare. Negret talks about the smart and visceral nature of the script which attracted him, while Edmund likens it to a 70s horror film in terms of intensity and integrity. They also crack wise with great regularity. At one point they go on a tangent about how Taylor Swift was in the running for Lampkin's part before Orlando Jones secured it. Yup, it's that kind of commentary track. The only other extra is a slate of trailers for additional films that are Also from Lionsgate.
Seconds Apart is smart, sick and just a little sad. Director Antonio Negret gets to the creepy core of evil twinship with impressive performances from Edmund and Gary Entin. As much a coming of age tale as a horror movie about murderous brothers, the film scores points with me for aiming higher than usual and actually delivering on its promise. Highly Recommended.