Two Pigeons (2017) [REVIEW] [SXSW ’17]

There are a lot of things about SXSW that makes it a pretty rad festival. One of those things is you end up seeing movies that you’ve never goddamned heard of but check out because other people you know are going. Another great thing is that it features movies that can’t be pigeonholed into one genre, making it hard to describe, forcing people to see it for themselves. One movie that defies definition is Two Pigeons, which is equal parts creepy and comedic, and constantly keeps you guessing.

Young professional Hussein (Mim Shaikh) gets up and goes to work like he does every other day. Shortly after he exits his apartment, Orlan (Javier Botet) emerges. At first, you might think Orlan is just a roommate or sibling, but once you see him go through HIS daily routine, you realize that he’s actually just a vagrant who’s living in Hussein’s apartment without his knowledge. He eats the bare minimum amount of food he can find, consumes little water, and tries to make his presence unknown. Well, except for doing small things here and there to fuck with Hussein’s life. From changing the time on his alarms to re-writing notes with incorrect information, Orlan seems to just want to pester Hussein. However, as the story moves along and Hussein’s girlfriend arrives, we see just how far Orlan is willing to go to make Hussein’s life a living hell and what Hussein has done to deserve it.

In case you aren’t familiar with Javier Botet, you might know him from his work as the Crooked Man in The Conjuring 2 and Mama from Mama. He’s 6’6″, incredibly gaunt, and a terrifying figure. Films like The Boy and Housebound resonated with me as they both feature characters living in someone else’s house without their knowledge, so Two Pigeons terrified me in just the right way. In the other films I mentioned, the character that was acting like the creep didn’t hold a candle to Botet’s intimidating presence, which makes this film incredibly effective.

The core concept was strong enough to keep me enthralled, but the mystery of why Orlan did all these pranks that felt rather innocuous is what really hooked me. We’ve all had our alarms go off at a different time than we anticipated or noticed our shampoo had less in it than we thought, but Two Pigeons presupposes that maybe there is a presence out there fucking with you because you deserve it. The reason behind Orlan’s actions don’t matter ultimately, as they make sense to Orlan, which is all that matters. Thanks to its excellent balance of humor and horror, and the compelling physical presence of Botet, Two Pigeons will make you check your closets and under your bed every time you misjudge how much toilet paper you had.

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