Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers gets a feminine and feminist revamp in new minisseries

Directed by Alice Birch and streaming on Amazon Prime, the series update the classic body horror flick by adding some bits of American Psycho to it

Lidia Zuin
4 min readMay 3, 2023

--

Recently released on Amazon Prime, the minisseries Dead Ringers updates the movie with the same name, directed by David Cronenberg. Both titles are inspired by the book Twins, written by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland. The series is directed by Alice Birch, already known for her work on The Wonder and Lady Macbeth — both starring Florence Pugh. Here, the identical twins Elliot and Beverly Mantle, once interpreted by Jeremy Irons, get a new feminine and feminist revamp with Rachel Weisz.

Similarly to what happened to the movie for American Psycho, which was directed by a woman (Mary Harron), Alice Birch also gives a new touch to the classic Cronenberg title. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that the miniseries feels like a hybrid of American Psycho and Dead Ringers as it also addresses topics related to the corporate and investor worlds.

Instead of the iconic scene where entrepreneurs exchange cards, here it is the dynamic between the twins and the investor Rebecca Parker (Jennifer Ehle) that is fit to become unforgettable. In order to open their fertility clinic, the sisters need to win this heir to a pharma tycoon which was responsible for an epidemic of substance use — parallels to the American opioid crisis are definitely intended.

If Beverly is supposed to play the good twin that aims to revolutionize the way women become mothers and experience childbirth, Elliot is more interested in carrying on with her research on extrauterine reproduction. All those lamb fetuses exposed in tanks around the clinic are no mere decoration, but a clear reference to an actual and successful research that managed to grow animals in a synthetic environment.

--

--

Lidia Zuin

Brazilian journalist, MA in Semiotics and PhD in Visual Arts. Researcher and essayist. Technical and science fiction writer.