Review: Billy Lewis’ The Terrible Two

I’ve heard that losing a child is the worst thing that can ever happen to a parent. Can you imagine losing two? In The Terrible Two, a young couple – Albert and Rose – lose both of their daughters a few years after moving into their dream home. Leading up to the one year anniversary of their deaths, Rose starts exhibiting strange behavior and it becomes clear that all is not well in the shattered household. Soon, they learn that there is a darker, more insidious reason for the girls’ deaths. The Terrible Two has the perfect set up for a haunted house flick – a small, woodsy town where bad shit usually goes down, the deterioration of the mind and soul, and a house that’s supernatural history has been swept under the rug. Due to the promotional poster and stills, I was expecting this movie to be a slasher-thriller where the dead girls are featured as killers, but I was dead wrong. Although it has an ending that borrows several elements from The Strangers, The Terrible Two is a paralyzing ghost story that’ll tear your heart out…and make you eat it.

I say that it’s paralyzing more-so because of the drama, not because of the suspense. The mother, Rose, is losing her sanity little by little; literally stuck on repeat living her daughter’s deaths over and over again in her head. She’s depressed, to say the least, and that gives evil spirits something to latch onto, something that can give them the power to crossover into this world. Putting myself in her place, and Albert’s, life has to be a lot less joyous when you lost the two people you were supposed to nurture and raise, and love for the rest of your life. That weight, that emotional baggage, is palpable throughout the entire movie. This one isn’t fun or exciting, it’s downright gloomy. And when you realize this family was chosen for a reason, and placed their on purpose, it makes the situation a whole lot worse. It could have been avoided. The evil could have been stopped, but unfortunately it has help from a human vessel. Absolutely devastating. This one’s going to punch you in the gut with just about every scene.

The Terrible Two is broken into two halves. The first half deals with the turmoil of loss, and the viewer is going to wonder if the strange happenings are due to Rose’s mental instability or the actual evil entities in the house. This half features all of the heart-string pulling moments, all of the character development or disintegration, and it slowly builds the mystery and suspense. However, the horror – which this film is being marketed in the horror category – is basically non-existent aside from two little blips. When the second half begins, that material starts to come into play, but it’s still not very scary. It’s going to lose a lot of viewers by not being more in your face until near the end. The build-up and the outcome aren’t worth the long wait when dissecting The Terrible Two as a horror film. There just wasn’t enough bite, not enough real chill-factor to wow the audience. A very character-driven and emotional piece on loss? Yes. Something that’s going to make you jump out of your seat with fright? No.

The acting is incredible, though. Truly. At first, I was skeptical about Cari Moskow (from “Port City PD”) and her performance, but the more she appeared on screen, the more I believed her. It felt like she wasn’t acting. It felt like she was a real mother who’s experienced tremendous loss, and she was just talking to a camera. That’s worth a round of applause in itself. Reid Doyle (“Six”) did a superb job, juggling his characters transformation from hunky, happy homeowner to a man on the edge of losing it. He was the anchor this movie desperately needed. Donny Boaz (“Dallas”), Devin McGee (“One Tree Hill”), Ariana Baron and Arielle Breslerman also star in this feature from writer, director and producer Billy Lewis. The Terrible Two is his second feature following 2009’s The Jailhouse. The Terrible Two was shot under Orange Street Films and Brand Spanking New Productions with the help of producers Jonathan Landau and Reid Doyle, cinematographers John C. Lehman and Stephen Thompson, and editor Jesse Andrus.

Uncork’d Entertainment is releasing The Terrible Two to VOD on March 6, 2018. It looks great, it’s shot well, the actors are phenomenal, the story is emotionally-charged and enthralling. The only thing that hinders it is the amount of horror. I’m sorry, I just wasn’t impressed. That needed to be turned up a notch…or two. Grading it as a drama with slight horror elements that don’t do it any justice. Final Score: 6.5 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)