“The Image of You” is Hallmark Horror Fun

Is there any relationship stronger than identical twins? Closer than siblings, they share not just the womb and a lifetime of experiences, but a substantial amount of matching DNA. Twins are born with a built-in partner and a quasi-psychic connection only they can understand. Given this impenetrable bond, can anyone come between a set of identical twins? Jeff Fisher explores this quandary in an erotic thriller that follows twin sisters both vying for the same man. The Image of You is a campy drama with an incredulous plot, but Fisher revels in a salacious twin story and delivers a heaping dose of Hallmark Horror Fun. 

Anna and Zoe (Sasha Pieterse) are identical twins. They’ve been inseparable since conception and their mother opens the film by lamenting the fact that not even she will ever mean as much to her children as they mean to each other. Her theory is put to the test when Anna, now in her thirties, meets Nick (Parker Young) on a dating app. The two quickly fall in love and get engaged, setting off alarm bells for the overprotective Zoe. Ostensibly vetting Anna’s husband-to-be, Zoe begins a torrid affair with the confused man and drags him through the ringer to prove his love for Anna. But is she merely trying to prevent her sister from making another mistake, or does she want a taste of the fairytale endings that always seems to fall into the golden twin’s lap? 

The Image of You feels like Hallmark dipping into the horror genre. The trashy story lures us in, but it’s never quite scandalous enough to repel large sections of its intended audience. This is a story for women looking for thrilling Girls Night fare or to relax in a hot bath with a racy story filled with hot, but generic actors. Fisher seems to know exactly what kind of film he’s making and executes the outlandish concept with impressive charm. It’s difficult to believe any humans would actually commit these dubious acts, but this over-the-top love triangle is both salacious and cathartic. We watch as all three lovers gleefully tear their lives apart and relax knowing that our own are relatively drama-free. It’s a trashy beach read come to life; a silly story that takes itself just seriously enough to be entertaining while maintaining a barely concealed wink at the audience. 

In addition to a preposterous plot, The Image of You features an astounding amount of house and wardrobe porn. Anna and Zoe come from an uber wealthy family and live off a trust fund, allowing them to maintain the pinnacle of stylish perfection and blow off work as it suits the plot. Sets look like spreads pulled from a West Elm or Arhaus catalog and the twins are never without their immaculate beach waves. Anna is the perfect mix of a privileged empath. She works at a squeaky-clean shelter and gracefully accepts the devotion of a tastefully disheveled, but non threatening man in need. With disposable wealth, Zoe throws money and people around with the practiced skill of a seasoned vamp. Her extravagant fortune and unattainable beauty allows her the confidence to get whatever she wants. Other people exist for her own amusement and it’s fun to watch Pieterse revel in this unlikeable character. Every other detail is just luxurious enough to delight the eye while not pulling attention away from the convoluted plot. 

Pieterse has fun playing opposite ends of the feminine spectrum. Neither twin ever feels like a real person, but these outsized archetypes draw us in as they scheme and scramble to come out on top. Essentially a smutty, adult The Parent Trap, the entire film would fall apart without her strong dual performances. Young is sufficiently attractive as the inoffensive Nick. He manages to win us over with hunky charm even when sleeping with his fiance’s twin sister because he never seems human enough to be anything more than a pawn. Mira Sorvino and Nestor Carbonell hit just the right notes of scandalous flair as the twins’ long-suffering parents. These veteran actors know exactly what kind of film they’re in and seem content to play their parts, dialing up the drama when needed, then immediately stepping back into the shadows. 

The campy script from Adele Parks and Chris Sivertson proves to be both the film’s biggest weakness and greatest strength. We can see the ridiculous twist coming from a mile away, but it’s still fascinating to watch these perfect lives smashed to bits. While we await the inevitable reveal, we can distract ourselves with luxurious wedding dress shopping and a glamorous affair. There are gigantic plot holes and an extremely contrived conclusion, but it’s a ballsy swing and Fisher nearly pulls it off. He’s counting on us relaxing into the unreality and not really caring if the story makes any sense. There’s plenty of sex, scandal, and intrigue to carry us through this ultimately forgettable film and The Image of You is perfect for popcorn and wine with the girls or to soothe a hangover the morning after an exciting night out. 

Jenn Adams is a writer, podcaster, and film critic from Nashville, TN. Find her social media nonsense @jennferatu.