As the film begins, young twin brothers Elias and Lucas (Cameron Crovetti and Nicholas Crovetti) are dropped off by their father at the secluded country home owned by their mother (Naomi Watts), the first time they’ve seen her in some time. time. Turns out, mom secretly underwent some sort of medical procedure that left her head completely wrapped in bandages. It’s quite disconcerting, but as the kids settle in, they start to sense that other things about her aren’t quite right – she gets upset quickly, she now seems to be smoking, she refuses to sing the song she used to do for them at bedtime and she forbids them from entering the barn out back. Strangest of all, she seems to direct most of her attention to Elias while barely acknowledging that Lucas even exists.

For the brothers, these bizarre developments can only lead to one conclusion: the person they live with is actually an impostor who did something terrible to their mother. Increasingly frightened by Mom’s seemingly irrational behavior and unable to contact their Dad, they attempt to flee to safety in the middle of the night. When that doesn’t work, they become determined to get the apparent intruder to admit she’s a fraud and reveal their mother’s whereabouts. And yet, even after being taped to her back and doused with ice cold water, she still insists that she really is their mother. Although Lucas remains firmly convinced that she is not who she is, Elias finds himself torn between his doubts about her identity and the lengths he is willing to go to prove it.

As I said, this version is within the basic parameters of the original film but mocks the details in a way that turns out to be disastrous. For starters, the often cruel and brutal means the brothers use to get the information they want (including some particularly nasty uses of superglue, scissors, and a magnifying glass) have been eliminated, significantly lowering the quotient of horror. It would be okay if the movie had bothered to replace them with something interesting, but it’s not. Screenwriter Kyle Warren and director Matt Sobel are oddly determined to weed out the ambiguous nature of the original narrative that proved just as unnerving as the more overt violence in order to give the events that unfold a much more literal and far less interesting interpretation. . This version plods along before arriving at the surprising twist that now turns out to be anything but in their hands.

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