Seconds Apart (2011)

Who likes identical twins? They’re up there in horror’s catalogue of disturbing alongside clowns, creepy porcelain dolls and the sound of an ice cream van at midnight. Imagine, then, that these twins are evil and happen to have a rare telekinetic power that means they can control everything you do. This is the central crux of Seconds Apart, and it is brilliantly played out.

Seconds Apart is the fourth UK release from the After Dark Originals umbrella, after Husk, Prowl and Fertile Ground, and it’s certainly their best title yet. Unique, disturbing, compelling, intelligent, horrifying, enthralling and very well directed; Seconds Apart is an excellent piece of work.

It begins at a frat party, where four arsehole “jocks” spin a bottle and laugh misogynistically about women they’ve slept with. Then… the bottle is suddenly replaced by a handgun… and the four teens promptly continue their little game and one-by-one blow their brains out. It’s an intriguing start, and even more so when you realize two other teenagers – geeky twins Jonah (Edmund Entin) and Seth (Gary Entin) – are watching and using a video camera to record it all.

The four deaths encourage a police investigation, led by Detective Lampkin (Orlando Jones), a world-weary man who instantly suspects the two boys of foul play. As more bizarre deaths occur and the twins begin to question each others priorities, we’re led to a superb and demented finale that no one could expect…

The After Dark Originals have certainly lived up to their “Originals” tag, as Seconds Apart is unlike anything you would’ve seen before. George Richards story and script is intricate and intelligent, winding cunningly towards it’s conclusion with smart character work and some brutally memorable scenes. There is the occasional sub-plot that is palm-facingly obvious – the inevitable love interest getting between the two twins feels tired and out of place – but the clichés are hardly noticeable in comparison to the sea of uniqueness surrounding them.

In their own right, real-life twins Edmund and Gary Entin are clearly superb actors, but within Seconds Apart they excel every second that we see them. These are twins you can tell apart instantly, not because of some dumb-obvious visual clue, but because they have different personalities. Their cruelty towards their fellow man is disturbingly cold, but also wonderfully understandable, and they are strange antagonists / protagonists. The rest of the cast does well to support their powerhouse performances, with Orlando Jones’ broken detective effectively winning our confidence and admirable and the film goes on.

The largest praise has to land on Antonio Negret, whose direction is absolutely stunning throughout. Even the simplest of shots has precision and care to it, and it makes Seconds Apart always watchable. For a horror film it is surprisingly packed with scenes of stark beauty and burns haunting images into your memory that will stay with you for a long time. I pray that his upcoming films Transit and Overdrive have the same quality to them as Seconds Apart. He is certainly one to watch.

Horror-wise Seconds Apart is dripping with insinuation and suggestion, but also laced with some genuinely horrible, vivid moments, including a babysitter’s ill-fated choice of breakfast treat and a priest forced to extract a parasitic worm from his ankle… with a paper knife. It’s harrowing, memorable stuff that is cunningly delivered by Richards and Negret.

Seconds Apart is a unique, clever, disturbing piece of filmmaking that is well written and superbly directed. The Entin twins are excellent throughout and it’s simply a well-crafted, compelling piece of horror filmmaking. Well worth a watch.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

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