Dead Ringers (1988)

More than any other Cronenberg film, this tests the limits of what constitutes a horror movie. Yes it has blood, ‘tools for operating on mutant women’ and a general tone of deep disquiet, but it’s first and foremost a study of domestic psychosis under unique circumstances. It’s also an unparalleled acting showcase: using computer-controlled camera technology, Jeremy Irons was able to portray both lead characters, twin gynaecologists Elliot and Beverly Mantle. What’s remarkable is how clearly he delineates between them: Elliot the steely, ‘masculine’ shark; Beverly the passive ‘feminine’ carer. As in The Fly (see No 23), Cronenberg’s interest in the tenuous connections between body and mind is combined with an unexpectedly sensitive portrayal of romantic attachment, making the brothers’ inevitable psychological collapse all the more effectively disturbing. TH
Dir David Cronenberg (Jeremy Irons, Genevieve Bujold)

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