THE TERRIBLE TWO * U.S.A. 2017 Dir: Billy Lewis 84 mins
In the oldest modern horror cliché in the book, expectant couple Reid Doyle and Cari Moskow – who talk like no expectant couple ever does in real life – snap up a too-good-to-be-true deal on a house, which means demonic activity shenanigans in the wake of their daughters’ subsequent tragic deaths. “I just found a death threat note in my sock drawer!” The hilariously awful dialogue – delivered deadpan by equally terrible actors – is the only saving grace of this talky, pedestrian attempt to ride the coattails of Hollywood’s popular supernatural franchises.
Writer-director Billy Lewis throws in creepy dolls, toy carts rolling by themselves, the random convenient discovery of an exposition-revealing manuscript and a demon-possessed wife yelling “Get out!!” a la THE AMITYVILLE HORROR. It’s so clumsily paced that someone actually says, “There’s something off about this house” an hour into the running time. It also overdoses on outrageously over-stated fake scares. The sincere efforts to deal with the subject of child death results in constant hilarity thanks to the cringe-inducing performances, though even Meryl Streep might struggle with lines like “It’s as if I’ve lost my relationship to God…It’s like I’ve given up on him since they died”. Memo to Mr. Lewis : it’s really tempting fate to include the word “terrible” in your movie’s title…though if you do have to make a sequel, please do not resist the urge to call it “The Terrible Two 2”…
Review by Steven West