THE EVIL TWIN – directed by Max McGuire – SPOILERS
The twin in the title (the evil one) is Charlotte (Emily Piggford), and she lives somewhere in upstate New York in a house purchased by her former lover Trevor Forsbeck (Gregory Wilson) for the specific purpose of keeping their affair secret. Realtor Linda Carmichael (Tanya Clarke) who was married to Trevor, suspects that Charlotte had something to do with his death, and Trevor’s brother Blake (Tomas Chovanec) is in agreement about that, but the police have found nothing suspicious about Trevor’s demise. Charlotte is securely living in her dead lover’s house but her troubles begin when twin sister Emily (also played by Piggford) arrives in town after fleeing an abusive boyfriend.
Emily, whose favourite drink is hot chocolate with a sprig of mint, is staying with her childhood friend Lenah (Cory Lee). Lenah needs to leave to take care of her sick mother, so Emily volunteers to run the family vintage retail business downtown. (THE EVIL TWIN was filmed in Almonte, Ontario, about 50 kilometers southwest of Ottawa. The actual antique shop Big Vintage plays the role of Lenah’s business.) When everyone Emily encounters seems to instantly hate her, she tries to find out why, and almost immediately meets her identical twin. Comparing birth certificates, they learn that they were separated at birth. Neither was ever told anything about the other.
The store’s first customer with Emily in charge is David (Ish Morris), who is trying to find a gift for his daughter Adalae and settles on an antique desk. (Adalae is a “huge Jane Austen fan” and the desk is in the style of one Austen might have used.) When Emily delivers the desk, this exchange happens:
ADALAE: “And who might you be?”
EMILY: “I’m Emily, and you must be Adalae. I’ve heard so much about you. I’ve heard that you know more about Jane Austen than anyone else on the planet.”
ADALAE: “I do! I know she wrote the entire history of England before she turned 16, and she wrote her first play when she was 12.”
The film’s pacing is quick without seeming hurried and one never gets tired of either of the twins. Charlotte is not your typical evil sibling and is far from predictable. Good twin Emily is transformed from a victim of domestic abuse into an aggressive amateur investigator, and her budding relationship with David demonstrates that, in the absence of her evil twin, this story might have been a charming, romantic comedy. But it’s Charlotte who creates the film’s best moment. After changing her hairstyle to match Emily’s (to further her devious plans), and while on the phone to her sister, she notices her reflection in a window and pauses as if to reconsider, then shakes it off and gets on with things.