In Twixt, Val Kilmer is a puffy shadow of his Top Gun self. This works perfectly for his character, Hall Baltimore, a burned-out, ponytailed horror novelist described early on as “bargain basement Stephen King.” Baltimore is unsettling, his keen gaze flipping between confident and shameful with disconcerting ease. His mercurial aspect is one of many disconcerting elements in a film that seems intent resisting even the possibility of cohesion.
Near the beginning of Francis Ford Coppola’s movie—now available on demand—Baltimore is pulled into some strange business, partnering up with Sheriff Bobby LaGrange (Bruce Dern), who has a serious case of crazy eyes, to investigate the murder of a child. Kilmer peppers his sad-sack shtick with flashes of charisma that reveal the movie star hidden beneath the padding. It’s tempting to conflate Kilmer with the character he portrays, his demeanor