Posts Tagged ‘Dead Ringers’

Dead Ringers (1988)

October 31, 2021

When I was very young, I once heard the story of the doppelganger. I remember it clearly because it was on one of several trips my family made to Busch Gardens Williamsburg which was one of my favorite places. Areas of the park were themed to different European nations. One of the rides was a ferry boat that you could peacefully ride on the river that ran through the park. It must have taken off from the German part of the park because I remember getting on a boat called “Doppelganger”. I am not a ride person so I was happy to be on a peaceful little trip with the mist of the river cooling me down. Then the ship’s driver started to explain the name of the boat. He told of the doppelganger, a mysterious ghostly mirror image each person has that is somewhere out in the world. That doppelganger has many different purposes in folklore but none of it is good. When I met my first pair of identical twins, it was much less scary.

I have always been creeped out by medical stuff. I have been scared of doctors since I can remember and have only been able to contain that terror rather than make that fear go away. A lot of it comes from being a sickly child and dealing with all of the tests that came with a mysterious respiratory problem. I also quickly developed an intense fear of needles which was probably related to all of the tests as well. Looking back, I think I still got off light. When I think about having to deal with a gynecologist, I cringe a bit. I have heard so many horror stories from friends, acquaintances, and strangers about that particular corner of the medical profession. I can imagine why. That branch is so invasive in a very intimate location on and in the body that is not quite built to be exposed to cold, clinical treatment. I can see why there is so much horror involved in that part of a woman’s body.

The first thing I noticed was the offbeat, creepy tone that the movie has from the start. We meet our main characters and they are immediately strange and offputting. This comes from the acting skill of Jeremy Irons who has a lot of chemistry with himself. He is both an asshole and a kind man, both archetypes of doctors. He does such a good job of playing two different characters while at the same time making it hard to figure out which is which until they open their mouth. His acting in this is absolutely superb. Geneviève Bujold is great as the woman who comes between them, a clever and tough actress. The three of them weave together a very intricate psychological story.

This being a David Cronenberg film, one would expect tons of gross body horror and gore. This movie is a bit tamer compared to some of Cronenberg’s more intense pieces. Still, there are definitely moments of that terrifying mind at work. For example, the surgery scenes are not gory but are definitely unsettling and alien. Part of that comes from custom-made medical tools that are made to look scary. I was not sure how many of the tools were real and how many were fictional. There were also a few moments of traditional Cronenbergian visual horror that were definitely startling. The costume design in the medical office looks alien as well. It carries on this whole idea of two people far smarter than the rest of the human race.

Overall, I really liked this movie. It was deeply unsettling without being gory which felt fresh. The psychological horror having to do with one’s identity was so deep and horrible that it was hard to bear at certain times. Jeremy Irons did so well in this role that I am surprised there was not an Oscar nomination for him. I recommend this movie.

Advertisement

Scary Studies

Horror is fascinating.

The Hidden Message

klaatu barada nikto

Growing a family

Im just trying to evolve

Panorama of the Mountains

Liam Sullivan's Ideas and Reflections

Boccob's Blessed Blog

A gaming blog with an emphasis on D&D 5e

wolfenoot.wordpress.com/

No Hate Only Snootboops

As Told By Carly

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

The Bloggess

Like Mother Teresa, only better.

Damyanti Biswas

For lovers of reading, crime writing, crime fiction

%d bloggers like this: