Twin gynecologists manipulate beautiful women into sleeping with
both of them, until one of them falls in love and complicates everything.
Dead Ringers (1988)
Directed by David Cronenberg
Written by David Cronenberg and Norman Snider
Starring Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske, Barbara Gordon, Shirley Douglas, Stephen Lack
Based on the novel Twins by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland
Dead Ringers is nothing like I expected. Admittedly, I hadn't heard very much about it. I knew it was the movie where Jeremy Irons played twins, and I'd also heard it was a deeply disturbing thriller. And I guess to some, it could be. But to me, it was a pretty straightforward drama about two twin brothers who couldn't bear to lose one another in any possible way. However, even though it didn't live up to my expectations, it still has that unmistakable Cronenberg style and creep factor to it.
Jeremy Irons delivers two of his finest performances in Elliot and Beverly Mantle, gynecologists who take advantage of their situation in the worst way. Elliot, the charming one, chats up beautiful women and takes them to bed. When he's done, he send Beverly, the lonely, timid one, to have them next, unbeknownst to the women. It's a creepy, disturbing system that works for them, until they meet Claire (Bujold), a barren actress who discovers their plan and calls them out on it. Then, she falls for Beverly, and Beverly falls for her, much to Elliot's chagrin, who doesn't like anybody competing for his brother's affection. Beverly's obsession with Claire turns into a drug addiction that affects both brothers, and sends them both down a dark path. The ride isn't particularly memorable, and while there are a number of disturbing moments, it's simply irresponsible to call this film a horror movie.
Apart from a memorable turn from Jeremy Irons, I just don't think there's enough substance here worth talking about. I'll give the movie credit for its concept and a particularly unsettling dream sequence, but overall it's more experimental and bizarre. It feels like there are too many stories being told at once, and instead of focusing on one of them, they all get lost in the jumble.