"...slow moving and it takes a very long time (perhaps too long) for the horror to really start"

Spanish Horror Film Offers More Style Than Substance

(091423) Tin and Tina is the new Spanish horror film on Netflix that has been trashed by most film critics. But itís really not all that bad. It is mostly interesting from a visual standpoint. The film is shot like a stylish 70s Gothic horror film and the color palette with lots of whites and reds that are used very well. Also, the acting by all the principal actors is always better than average although a little overdramatic at times by US standards. But the story could have been improved, and after a certain point it becomes predictable, with the mom becoming more suspicious as the bodies around the twins begin to pile up. This is kind of like M4gan with two demented twins committing murders rather than a killer babysitter.

There have been of course many other films about sinister twins or doppelgangers such as The Shining (1980), Hammerís Carmilla prequel, Twins of Evil (1971), The Other (1972), and my favorite, William Wilson, a lesser-known Spirits of the Dead film episode (1968), adapted from a Poe story. The twin theme is probably popular because the twin or mirror image (like it did in Evil Dead II or in the original Star Trek episode, Mirror Mirror) can be seen as the evil side of a person. Tin and Tina is not nearly as good as those efforts and it mostly avoids heavy themes, but it does serve as a stern warning against religious extremism.

Tin and Tina is slightly different from those films because the two twins are also albinos (there was also an evil albino in
Da Vinci Code). The film is very slow moving and it takes a very long time (perhaps too long) for the horror to really start.

Lola (Milena Smit) and Adolfo (Jaimie Lorento) are a very likeable couple who are depressed because Lola recently suffered a miscarriage. We find out about this in a shocking manner when we see the brideís dress filling with blood at the wedding while she is standing (in a shocking image that could have come out of a giallo film like The Blood Splattered Bride or Hatchet for a Honeymoon). Because of complications caused by the miscarriage Lola is told she cannot conceive again.

Lola was raised in a Catholic orphanage, and even though she is not religious she convinces her husband to go with her to pick out two foster kids at the orphanage. Of course, they choose the most sinister, disturbed-looking kids who will end up ruining their lives.

The two albino twins, Tin and Tina come from a very religious background and they were named after St. Augustine who is considered the father of the Catholic in the west. The film reunites two of the biggest kid stars in Spain to play the albinos. Ruth Gabriel played in the show, Barrio Sesamo along with her co-star here, Chel Vivaros.

The husband is a little more hesitant about plunging right into parenthood and asks, ďAre you sure about this?Ē A nun ominously warns the parents when she says,Ē They are unique, special children.Ē They donít know the half of it.

After a little period of adjustment, the couple finds out that Tin and Tina are very eccentric and have very unconventional ideas about life. The twins are Christian fundamentalists that take the Bible so literally that will do horrific things (like carving up a dog) to fulfill what they think is Godís will. The mom begins to suspect something is terribly amiss when the kids suggest how sometimes family members must be sacrificed to appease God citing the Abraham story shortly before she gives birth.

The film is actually an expansion of a short film with the same name which might explain why the long version feels stretched out just to make it feature length. This long version is ok, but many critics argued that the short (which won over thirty awards) does much of what this films does and it does it better.
But both the long and short version (from the clips I saw) are undeniably scary and better looking than most American horror films. If you loved Del Toroís films like The Orphanage or Cronos you just might like this one. But for me it was hit and misses.

Directed by:    Ruben Stein
Written by:    Ruben Stein and Jose Otuno
Starring:    Anastasia Russo, Milena Smit,Carlos G. Morollon
Released:    05/26/23 (USA)
Length:    119 minutes
Rating:    Not Rated
Available On:    At press time streaming on Netflix

For more writings by Vittorio Carli go to www.artinterviews.org and www.chicagopoetry.org. His latest book "Tape Worm Salad with Olive Oil for Extra Flavor" is also available.

Come to the next session of the Monthly Poetry Show on the first Saturday of every month at Tangible Books in Bridgeport from 7-9 at 3324 South Halsted hosted by Vittorio Carli.

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