I have to say, put body horror center stage and you can almost guarantee I will, at minimum, have a pretty good time. It’s an oxymoron in a way, because body horror is the furthest thing from a good time. But I’ve found over the last few years that when our corporeal beings are physically tested to their absolute limits, well, it excites me in ways not many other horror subgenres do. I don’t know why; I don’t have a high pain tolerance or a strong stomach, but instead of questioning it, I just chase it. It’s done well for me so far. And that is how, on suggestion, I discovered Two, the new Spanish-language Netflix movie directed by Mar Targarona. The person who suggested it to me knew my tastes and, unsurprisingly, that I would probably have at least a few good words to say about it. They were definitely right.
The premise is compelling, and simple enough: Two random folks wake up stitched together at the abdomen, unsure of who or what would dare maim them in this way. Sara (Marina Gatell) and David (Pablo Derqui) come to in a tidy, well-decorated room and have to figure out how to operate as a unit so they can work together to search for clues about their captor and how to escape—and, of course, separate themselves.
A movie like this—told through the eyes of just two characters in mostly one location, not to mention the subject matter on top of it all—relies on good acting. While I would’ve liked to see the two leads go a little bit harder, Gatell and Derqui are fully committed to their roles and the choices their characters make in dire straits. Derqui does well with his cool, calm and collected archetype, while Gatell mostly nails his panicky yet intuitive counterpart. Their characters evolve as they gain and lose knowledge throughout the film, which feels altogether realistic. Would I have gone a little more batshit in this situation? Probably, but people react to trauma and shock differently, and these impulses translate in a way that feels plausible for the moment. In fact, if I woke up stitched to some guy, I’d hope that he wouldn’t lose his marbles over the situation so we’d have the best chance at surviving. Also, because I’d be losing my marbles and we can’t both do it. In that vein, the archetypes play together nicely, and form a yin and yang element that stays true to the film’s overarching concepts and themes (but I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so make sure to give it a watch).
The film thrusts the audience into its concept’s psychology, and thus we are forced to walk through the motions with the victims, finding everything out as they do. There’s no foresight for the audience with this one, which makes for a pretty anxiety-filled watch—because who knows what to expect? There are no clues, no insight. You’re walking blind, just like the victims. Two does that incredibly well. It certainly makes the answers Sara and David find by the end even more unsettling.
That said, the answers the characters find aren’t exactly as diabolical as some other films that have sent their protagonists on similar wild goose chases for the truth. I’m thinking Martyrs, because yeah, I want all of my movies to go that hard (but be forewarned, that movie isn’t for the faint of heart). It’s here, in the writing, where Two suffers most. When a pair of human beings wake up stitched together at the stomach, you have to assume some extremely sick stuff is going on. And while, yes, anyone doing that to people for any reason can be considered sick, when you have movies like Martyrs showing characters giving absolutely inhuman justifications for the horrifying mutilation they inflict, the last quarter of Two becomes stiff and, dare I say it, a little bit basic. Remember how I said I wished the actors went a little harder in their performances? The writers could’ve gone a little harder as well. They were certainly onto something, and it is cool to see where their heads were at via the finished product—but there’s no denying the film could’ve been harsher and harder, and, ultimately, scarier if they had upped the ante with the film’s last 30 minutes.
Two does a pretty solid job of putting its audience into the shoes of a couple who finds themselves surgically connected against their will and, naturally, it isn’t pretty. It is full of confusion and terror and adrenaline. I only wish the stakes could’ve been somehow raised to avoid a flat final act, but hey, you can’t always stitch up what’s broken.
Director: Mar Targarona
Writers: Cuca Canals, Christian Molina, Mike Hostench
Stars: Marina Gatell, Pablo Derqui, Kandido Uranga
Release Date: December 10, 2021 (Netflix)
Lex Briscuso is an entertainment, film and culture writer who eats, sleeps, and breathes exceptional horror, sweeping dramas, and top-notch acting. She is a news desk writer at /Film and has bylines at FANGORIA, The Guardian, Shudder’s The Bite and EUPHORIA. Her horror radio show, YOUR NICHE IS DEAD, is live Mondays 5pm ET. She tweets @nikonamerica.