I went into this movie with no expectations except for how the critics described it, as an unfortunate lapse, a shapeless orgy of violence. “It’s not the worst movie ever made, it just seems to be.” The critics are wrong; this is a brilliant film that complements and redeems the unevenness of the two-season television show. Anyone who expected comic mystery hijinks deserved the confusion they endured.
I had never watched Twin Peaks until a few weeks ago; I only knew it from the fans of its quirky details - the Log Lady, pie, etc ec. The quirk and whimsy and stylized performances that sat exactly where it needed to in the early 1990s. It’s a different series than I thought it was. It shocked from its opening moments, the intrusion of one dead and one battered teenager into the quiet Pacific Northwest logging town.
The half-comic stiffness bothered me until the meaning sank in. When horror goes unacknowledged, we are living in a world that is not quite real. If you’re going to pretend you live in a world without hidden violence you might as well talk to a log for all the sense it makes.
Fire Walk With Me is the prequel and it has an R rating which allows us to walk through the membrane. We follow Laura Palmer through the real life people winked and hinted at on television. Confused sex, drugs, terror, incest, and rape. Sheryl Lee’s performance is edge-of-seat daring and unforgettable; she knows what’s happening to her, she’s fascinated by it and terrified; she's a person all too recognizably daring herself forward and downward. Her friend Donna wants to share the contagion and Laura almost lets her and then panics when she sees the reality. In the end we see her walk to her fate.
It’s a film with the supernatural in it but there are almost no special effects. We see people appear and disappear and behave in odd and terrifying ways. Which, for anyone paying attention, is not supernatural at all.