Seconds Apart: Movie Review

Seconds Apart Movie Review
SECONDS APART (Antonio Negret, 2011)

Review by Jason Lees,

SECONDS APART, an After Dark Original directed by Antonio Negret, has two things going for it. One, it has a career turning performance by Orlando Jones. And two, it has balls. Big balls. Sometimes misguided, sometimes overshadowing, but balls nonetheless.

While investigating a high school party gone bad, Det. Lampkin (Jones) points out that suicide and homicide can sometimes be made to look like each other. This is where our story starts. Students at the local Catholic school are offing themselves lately at an alarming rate, and at the center of it all are the Damien-esque twins Seth and Jonah. Is it suicide? Is it murder? Is it supernatural?

SECONDS APART falls clearly into the demented twins genre, and it does its very best to fulfill all its obligatory creepy dual behavior by its starring twins Gary and Edmund Enton. They dress alike, they talk alike, and they sleep way too close together. They also share a psychic link that lets them manipulate others around them into seeing and doing whatever they wish. The problem is, what they wish is for is pretty intensely twisted, so much so that just their attitude is enough to incite others to lash out at them, leaving them feeling like the freaks they’ve grown to believe they are. Is it murder? Is it self defense? Is it research? Is it fun?

Yes, and no.

Instead of the tired out good twin / evil twin, what we get here is shades of grey. Neither twin is played as good or evil, but rather a mixture of both. When their stoic and very bloodthirsty lives are thrown off kilter (of course, by the new girl at school), we get to see their relationship reflect the chaos they’ve inflicted on everyone around them. It’s a slow build, but the pay off is there, especially when the twins have to square off with Jones’s Det. Lampkin.
Orlando Jones, known mostly for comedy, finally gets a chance to stretch onscreen. The man puts in a performance that should open doors for him the way SE7EN did for Morgan Freeman. It’s not a scene chewing type of exhibition, but a solid piece of work that allows the preposterous notion of psychic twins to somehow be believable. That’s pretty damn impressive for an actor most people still know primarily for Making 7-Up Yours. He’s good, very good, and if SECONDS APART works, it’s because Jones works hard to give the film its heart.
Oh, and don’t forget those balls. I have to give the film credit for being fearless in a controlled, almost naïve way. SECONDS APART attempts the impossible by showing the world that yes, you can indeed present an intense Russian Roulette sequence without ripping of THE DEER HUNTER. And you can also peek into the lives of twins without trying to remake David Cronenberg’s DEAD RINGERS. That takes guts.

One question kept popping up into my head while watching. What would real life twins think of the way they’re portrayed here? I don’t mean in any of the telepathic escapades, but in the way they seem to walk in synch and stare blankly at each other while brushing their hair. Is it the same way true to life burn victims look at Freddy Krueger and laugh, do they roll their eyes and be thankful no one is humming the Patty Duke theme song?

SECONDS APART aims high and more often than not gets it right, enough so that I’d pay good money to see Jones reprise his role in a series of Kolchak style movies. The Children of the Damned-like evil might be good for only one movie, but there’s enough going on here to keep you rooting for the good guy until the end, in all its fiery glory.

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