Rating: 3 out of 5.

Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)

When a newlywed couple adopts a pair of seven-year-old siblings, they find themselves unprepared for the overtly religious children who constantly quote the Bible and engage in creepy or violent acts. And if you’re a thriller/horror fan who didn’t enjoy Stephen King’s “Cujo,” then “Tin & Tina” is definitely not a film for you. Not like the two works have much in common, but let’s just say there’s a dead pet in both of them.

Written and directed by Rubin Stein, the 2023 Spanish psychological thriller “Tin & Tina” stars Carlos González Morollón and Anastasia Russo as the titular brother and sister who have an eerie religious fervor. Milena Smit portrays Lola, who slips into depression after suffering a miscarriage moments after her wedding and learns she can never conceive again. Despite her initial reluctance, Lola agrees to her husband Adolfo’s (Jaime Lorente) suggestion to adopt children, but surprises him by choosing a pair of siblings raised in a convent after witnessing their organ performance at church.

Set in the 1980s, the cinematography of the film is beautiful, with some great camera-work. From the grand Catholic churches to Lola’s sprawling home, most scenes possess a vintage charm, though some of the violent sequences stand starkly in contrast. Milena Smit as the beautiful young mother Lola is the most interesting character in the story. Introduced as a radiant bride full of hope, she gradually loses her vibrancy after the loss of her child. She begins to emit an unsettling aura, and her mental state continues to deteriorate following the adoption of Tin & Tina. Smit’s performance was reminiscent of Alyssa Sutherland’s portrayal of the possessed Ellie in “Evil Dead Rise”, even though Lola’s body isn’t hijacked by an ancient evil entity.

Anastasia Russo portrays the dominant twin, Tina, who is characterized by her energy and cheerfulness, as well as being the mastermind behind most of their mischief. However, using the word “mischief” to describe their actions feels tame considering the extent of their disturbing behavior. For instance, the children inflict violent harm upon themselves as a form of punishment when reprimanded. Conservative religious viewers may take offense at the content, as it implies that growing up in a convent can mess a person up. Nevertheless, Tin & Tina also appear somewhat blameless at times, leaving viewers divided as to whose side to support. Should one worry for Lola, who has to cope with these two little terrors, or should pity be directed towards the children, who are bullied at school and know nothing about life outside of the convent? Alternatively, should Lola be blamed for her inability to control the kids?

“Are they innocent children who misinterpret the Bible or evil kids who twist the holy verses to justify their behavior?”, Lola seriously wonders about the twins at one point in the film. The creators cleverly leave the answer to the viewers’ imagination. Overall, “Tin & Tina” is an interesting thriller, which is bogged down by a sluggish pace and a climax doesn’t fall in line with the rest of the plot and characterization of a primary protagonist.

It’s a 6 on 10 from me. You can stream the film on Netflix.

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