When Twisted comes out on DVD, I can see scores of people passing by the movie at the video store, thinking, "I've never even heard of that movie before." With the whole nation getting swept up in The Passion of the Christ, Twisted, which had the misfortune of opening a few days after Passion, was lost in the shuffle. Twisted's release date probably has a lot to do with that as well as its minimalist promotion, but it's not like the movie is even that good anyway.
Twisted does have some potential to be very good, though. It just goes about it in ways that have been done many many many times before. The premise is pretty fresh and original: a cop (Judd) tracking down a killer whose victims are all men she's had one-night stands with. And it's set up nice at the beginning, bringing us right into the thick of things, with Judd's character, Jessica Shepard, being held at knifepoint by a weirdo who likes to grope her. So, she subdues the guy, arrests him, and for some reason, is promoted to Inspector in the Homicide division of the San Francisco Police Department. It didn't hurt that her "mentor" is the Police Commissioner John Mills (Jackson). Anyway, after a night of drinking too much, and a random one-night stand, her first case is a guy she had different one-night stand with. Hmmmm. Then, of course, the next dead guy they find is the guy she slept with earlier in the movie, so they send her to the nunnery before more guys die...just kidding. So her and her new partner (Garcia) have to track down the killer before more guys turn up dead.
There is nothing special at all about the acting here. Judd is in fairly familiar territory here (See: High Crimes, Double Jeopardy, Kiss the Girls). She is, as the Bowling for Soup song goes, "The Girl All the Bad Guys Want" in all those movies. She might be more bad herself in this movie, but it's the same kind of character, only Judd doesn't bring anything really new to the table. The script does, as far as her character goes, but her performance really doesn't. Samuel L. Jackson and Andy Garcia are decent, but there's nothing extraordinary about their performances either. The same goes for David Strathairn, as a shrink, and Camryn Manheim as a criminal lab analyst.
The script, written by Sarah Thorp, has an intriguing premise, but is riddled with corny dialogue. Thorp does keep you guessing, however, using some subtle nuances to help eliminate suspects for the audience. These are nicely done, but these twist-o-rama scenarios have been done so many times before, you should know that it's always the one you least suspect that is the real killer, which is true here. But there are many other possibilities that Thorp could've entertained for the killer that were just passed over, but would've made the movie more interesting, or at least original. But, even with the formulaic route Thorp went, she could've at least thought of a creative and interesting reason to why the killer did it, right? Wrong. Again, there are so many avenues that Thorp could've went down here, but the route she went down was just boring and dumb. And if you've seen The Recruit or The Negotiator, you can probably just skip the very very end because it's a near carbon copy of the very end of those movies.
The direction by Phillip Kaufman is pretty decent, mainly because he uses suspense and the subtle nuances in the script to steer you away from the troublesome aspects of the script and acting. He keeps you interested enough to stay in the theater, but just enough that once you're gone, so is your interest in the movie. My very first impression after leaving the theater was that "This was a pretty good movie." But then, when I started thinking about why it was pretty good, I couldn't come up with anything besides that this was simply an average movie.
Twisted is a movie about promiscuity, police and... damn. I can't think of a word for murder that starts with a "P." The movie's interesting premise gives way to an unsatisfying ending, emulating the one-night stand theme in the movie. It's just a little bit of fun, but nothing you should get attached to.