There's become such a similarity to the roles that Ashley Judd has been taking for herself in recent movies that at first glance her character in Twisted may seem like another "woman in jeopardy" part for the actress. But I was happy to see that this movie gave her a little more to do than simply be stalked by a serial killer. Twisted is different because Ashley's character may actually be the killer. Sure, it has a "TV Movie of the Week" ring to it, but the film does have a guilty pleasure feeling to it that makes it fun to watch – even if you're not likely to take much away from the viewing.
Judd stars as San Francisco cop Jessica Sheppard, who has just been promoted to inspector on the homicide unit. Her boss and her mentor is Police Commissioner John Mills (Samuel L. Jackson), who raised Jessica following the murder/suicide of her mother and father when she was a young girl. Also thrown into the mix is Mike Delmarco (Andy Garcia), Jessica's new partner in homicide; as well as police psychologist Dr. Melvin Frank (David Strathairn), whom Jessica is assigned to meet with because of taking out her aggressiveness on a criminal during her most recent arrest.
Not long after getting her promotion to homicide, dead bodies start showing up all over San Francisco. The connection to Jessica is that she has had one-night-stands with each of the victims. She's also suffering from blackouts that always seem to happen the night of each murder. Is she guilty? Is she innocent? Viewers will get plenty of hints pointing both ways – and plenty of suspects and red herrings from director Philip Kaufman so that it seems everyone involved in Jessica's daily life just might be the real killer.
We've seen similar "guessing game" thrillers in the past, but I'll give Twisted credit where credit is due. I'm usually good at figuring out "who done it" about 20-mintues in to these types of movies, and I was totally surprised at the resolution to the mystery here. Now, that doesn't mean you won't guess right – but I think it is an indication that the makers of this movie did do a pretty good job of not giving too many clues away in the process of telling their story.
Still, once you know what happens to these characters, this isn't a movie that has a lot of "replay" value to it. While all the actors do a fine job, there's no one in the cast that hasn't given a better performance elsewhere and we never really get to find out much about the other people in Jessica's life (Andy Garcia's character, in particular, seems to just service the plot rather than being well-rounded).
Ultimately, Twisted has the viewing appeal of junk food. You know it's not good for you and that you're going to regret it later – but darn, it tastes pretty good going down.
The video was perhaps the biggest shock I had from watching this Paramount release. Although the picture is anamorphic widescreen, there seems to be a ton of grain on the print and a lack of overall sharpness. I didn't see Twisted in the theaters, so I don't know if this was the way the film was intended to look, but I was very unimpressed with what I saw here.
Audio options here include a 5.1 Track, a 2.0 Track and a 5.1 French Track. The 5.1 Track is about average for a DVD release. It's one of those where nothing in particular stands out about the audio, yet there are no noticeable glitches or problems with it, either. A decent, if unremarkable, job. Both English and Spanish subtitles are also available.
There are a good number of extras on this DVD, although I must say I found most of them to range from dull to average.
The Director's Commentary with Philip Kaufman is a so-so track, with more pauses than I would have liked, and far too much of it (I'd say about 50%) devoted to telling the viewer what the character is doing on-screen, rather than passing along interesting tidbits about the movie and its production.
The disc also includes 10 Deleted Scenes With Optional Director's Commentary, the majority of which are simply extended versions of scenes already in the movie. None of these scenes really add anything to the characterizations in the movie, and I have to admit that I didn't find any of these 10 scenes to be entertaining (which is, I suppose, why they were cut).
Three Featurettes have also been added to the DVD – one covering the way the movie tried to keep viewers in suspense; one covering the real-life law enforcement people who helped out with the movie; and one covering the use of San Francisco as a "character" in the film (something they did quite well, I might add).
A selection of Trailers rounds out the bonus features. All bonus material, by the way, is non-anamorphic.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Twisted isn't something you're going to want to add to your collection, but it is good enough for a rental. Overall, I felt the movie was much better than I thought it was going to be going into it, and it probably deserved a little more box office and a few better reviews when it was theatrically released. It's certainly worth one viewing, so go ahead and add it to your rental list.