Two Twisted Tales is the latest short film by Nicholas Michael Jacobs. He’s a writer-director-actor-producer, and Film Threat has reviewed several of his movies. This three-minute anthology begins with a figure, with its back to the camera, sitting down, and hitting play on a cassette player (yes, cassette tapes). The first story is that of Ted Morris, who killed his cheating wife. Afterward, he wrapped her favorite childhood doll in her skin. Inevitably, this leads to dire consequences for everyone, save the doll.
Then, the tape begins the second, and last, narrative. Michelle (Alexis Beacher) is grieving the loss of her husband. Unable to sleep, she winds up in the dark recesses of the internet and orders a box containing an unknown item. She discovers that it is a mask made of human flesh. The origins of the mask will horrify Michelle to her grave.
“…orders a box containing…a mask made of human flesh.”
Then, of course, there’s a twist involving the wraparound of Two Twisted Tales that works shockingly well. And that is all there is, without spoiling everything, story-wise. While on the topic of the short’s narratives, tale one comes from a different short of Jacobs’, Genevieve. And while I have not seen all of his films, I believe the second story also stems from a previously produced segment, though I might be incorrect here. Either way, this brief motion picture works quite well.
The wraparound with the mysterious, hooded figure has a nice payoff, and its breaking of the fourth wall adds an intriguing layer as to why these stores are being told. While the anthology never becomes truly scary, the editing between the mysterious figure, the cassette player, and the tales proper is quite good. The sound design also adds a spooky ambiance, which is exploited most effectively.
Two Twisted Tales is never frightening, but an eerie pall lingers across the entire 180 seconds of the movie. Coupled with the strong editing and sound design, this anthology proves that Jacobs potentially has a bright future as a filmmaker.
"…an eerie pall lingers across the entire 180-seconds of the movie."