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Twisted Reviews

An intensely claustrophobic film that seems to owe much of its inspiration to THE BAD SEED (1956). Meet the dysfunctional Collins family. The parents bicker--she's a promiscuous material girl, he an ineffectual complainer--but it's their two children who pay the psychological price. Their small daughter seems relatively undamaged, but older brother Mark (Christian Slater) is a maladjusted monster. Intelligent and precocious, he's also sadistic and manipulative--he's wired the entire house so that he can listen to private conversations or fill the house with Nazi rants. While Mr. and Mrs. Collins attend a tony party at the local country club, the children are left in the care of a wealthy local woman, Helen (Lois Smith), with a history of mental problems. Mark realizes she's an ideal victim, and lets loose with the full range of cruel tricks he has devised. Before long, their war of wits escalates into violence. Though the tensions within the Collins household are carefully delineated, Mark's no mere troubled teenager--he's bad to the bone, purely and simply evil. Virtually all the film's action takes place in the Collins house, and its conflicts are kept to a small scale: there are no guns, no knives, no fires, no explosions and no pitched battles, just one fragile woman pitted against an extraordinarily cruel and inventive teenager determined to drive her over the edge. Though it's slow getting started, TWISTED is quite effective within the scope of its modest ambitions, and the excellent performances from Lois Smith and a very young Christian Slater, refreshingly free of the mannerisms he adopted in HEATHERS (1989), help raise it above the level of many similar pictures.