Francis Ford Coppola
I covered TWIXT at the 2011 Comic Con and while it was cool seeing the director of THE GODFATHER and APOCALYPSE NOW in person, the most memorable aspect was what Francis Ford Coppola promised with his new movie. In true artistic fashion, Coppola devised a new technology with interactive electronic musician Dan Deacon to do a live "mix" of TWIXT in front of audiences. The plan was that the director would tour the film around the country and sit in the back of the theater to essentially edit the movie as the audience watched it. If people found a particular scene funny, he could add in extra lines or takes. If they were responding to a character more than others, he could fire up bonus scenes or rearrange them. Who knows whether it would've been successful or added anything to the experience of watching the movie, but it was an interesting idea and something innovative and worthy of a challenging filmmaker like Coppola.
But that's not what happened. Coppola's tour never came through, so all we're left with is a fairly boring and uneventful horror film. TWIXT is based on a dream the director had and it does have that ethereal quality to it. The visuals are often intriguing, with the dreamy pieces reverting to a hazy black and white with occasional colored accents. There's a very gothic atmosphere (including appearances by Edgar Allan Poe himself) and a "Twin Peaks" vibe, with inexplicably strange characters and a secretive, off-kilter toneóbut the film doesn't use any of this to its advantage.
Instead, you're left with a lifeless, pointless mess that's ultimately a waste of time for you and everyone involved. Elle Fanning's ghostly V, Bruce Dern's sheriff and even Tom Waits brief narrator are all wasted. The underrated Val Kilmer is fun when he's allowed to be (the scenes of him struggling to write as he gets progressively drunker are hilarious), but the majority of the film sees him simply fumble around the uninteresting murder mystery. And it's a mystery the movie is too lazy to even solve: Kilmer ends up having a dream where he just asks the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe to tell him what happened.
You can kind of see what Coppola is going for with TWIXT, but he just tries way too hard with nothing to show for it. After seeing the completely nonsensical ending, I was truly embarrassed for the man responsible for THE GODFATHER and APOCALYPSE NOW.
Twixt: A Documentary by Gia Coppola (37:42): This doc by Coppola's granddaughter offers a fly-on-the-wall take on the production. You get to see everyone in their natural habitat, and not in fluffy PR mode, from Kilmer getting hounded for autographs to Coppola acting kooky and wanting to just hang out alone in his van. (This explains a lot of the film.) The younger Coppola is not a trained filmmaker, so this is very amateur in execution. Though it's worth it to see Kilmer say "I'll be your Huckleberry" and Coppola recit "The horror, the horror."
The interactive idea for TWIXT presented two years ago at Comic Con would've at least made this movie an interesting failure. As it is, it's just a failure.
Extra Tidbit: The movie marks a reunion for Kilmer and his ex-wife (and WILLOW co-star) Joanne Walley .