DEAD RINGERS on Prime Video is a new series with horror and thriller elements. Quite the genre-hybrid and very wild in many ways. Above everything, this shows Rachel Weisz being breathtakingly brilliant. Read our Dead Ringers series review here!
DEAD RINGERS (2023) is a new Prime Video series with six hour-long episodes. It’s one wild ride that utilizes both horror and thriller elements to the extreme. Of course, this is based on the same book that was adapted by body horror master David Cronenberg, so you should expect nothing less.
And yet, this is a very different take on the same story. A story that still revolves around two doctors who are identical twins. For this 2023 version, the Mantle twins are portrayed by Rachel Weisz who is amazing. I would expect nothing less from this brilliantly talented woman, but she still managed to surpass any and every expectations I had.
Continue reading our Dead Ringers series review below. We’ve watched all six episodes for this review and you can find all the episodes on Prime Video from April 21, 2023.
Two halves of a whole
Rachel Weisz is so breathtaking in her portrayals of Beverly and Elliot Mantle. And yes, the names are still the same as when Jeremy Irons played the characters in Cronenberg’s 1988 movie. For that movie, the tagline was “Two bodies, two minds, one soul”.
For this series, Beverly and Elliot are portrayed by Rachel Weisz in such a manner that you, the viewer, should be able to always keep track of who’s who. If you pay attention that is. The two twins are quite different in their lust for life (and devouring everything) as well as their approach. Both to other people, challenges, and their own needs.
As Elliot, Rachel Weisz is constantly eating and being extremely forward. When she portrays, Beverly, we see someone who is quieter but also seems stronger when challenged, and someone seeking love and acceptance. Elliot wants adventure and to push boundaries. Beverly wants comfort and safety. Both for herself and her patients.
The Mantle twins are essentially two halves of one whole. If you combined each individual’s talents and desires, you would have one crazy powerhouse. Instead, they are two individuals who become a powerhouse force when together. But what happens when their “togetherness” is challenged?
That’s what the story in Dead Ringers really focuses on.
Watch it for Rachel Weisz
Let me just preface this next part by saying that I don’t feel Rachel Weisz is the only reason you should watch this 2023 version of Dead Ringers. Rather, I want to highlight that you really cannot allow yourself on missing out on watching it because of her.
If you’ve watched a series such as Orphan Black, you’ll have some experience with watching one actor portray several characters and accept this easily. I say “accept” but what I mean is simply that your mind forgets the characters are portrayed by just one person.
Rachel Weisz is an actor I have long adored and with the portrayals in Dead Ringers, we’ve just reached a whole new level of awe.
The difference between Elliot and Beverly Mantle actually becomes even more obvious as they interact with other core supporting characters. Especially when Beverly falls in love with Genevieve (Britne Oldford) and wants to be with her. This effectively makes for the first major break in the symbiotic lives of the Mantle twins.
The chemistry between Rachel Weisz and Britne Oldford is exactly as tangible as it always is when Rachel Weisz plays a queer character. She dives into these characters and their relationship head first (pun only a little intended) and it makes for intense and believable storylines. Also, it’s fun seeing Britne Oldford play very differently across from each twin.
A powerful supporting cast
Another chip in the armor comes from the Mantle twins wanting to create a new kind of “Birthing Center”. A place where pregnant patients aren’t treated as sick people, but rather as someone going through the most natural process. One where those who are pregnant have all the power and where it’s all about their needs and safety.
It sounds like something that should already be the case, but it really isn’t. Check out the Netflix short film Weathering for just one example of how this is not the case.
In order to create this birthing center, an investor is needed. The center will also focus on infertility and other more “creative” aspects of creating life. The latter is where the real innovation and money is. The needed investor is Rebecca, whose morals do not match those of Beverly.
Rebecca is played by the always memorable Jennifer Ehle (Saint Maud), who delivers an amazing portrayal here. Interestingly, Jennifer Ehle manages to portray Rebecca as someone you can both loathe and listen to. She says the most outrageous things but also takes the time to explain how most people are grotesquely two-faced.
As the wife of Jennifer Ehle’s Rebecca, we see Emily Meade (The Deuce). Their marriage almost mirrors the relationship between Elliot and Beverly. In terms of personalities, that is. Also in a key supporting role is Michael Chernus who works alongside Elliot in the more experimental part of fertility.
Finally, Poppy Liu (Hacks) plays a rather big role as Greta, who takes care of the Mantle twins and their home. She also has her own storyline which is teased a lot and revealed later. However, I do wish it had gone a bit further. It’s all quite symbolic and gets very artsy (but literally and figuratively speaking), but is intriguing.
Watch the Dead Ringers series on Prime Video now!
The creator of this Prime Video series is Alice Birch (The Wonder). And yes, just like David Cronenberg’s 1988 movie, Dead Ringers in this 2023 series version, is based on the book by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland. The writing team on the series consists of Miriam Battye, Rachel De-Lahay (The Feed), Ming Peiffer, and Susan Soon He Stanton.
Filmmaker Sean Durkin, who directed Martha Marcy May Marlene and produced Piercing, directs the first two episodes and co-directs the last episode of the series. The team of directors is rounded out by Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body, The Consultant), Karena Evans (Y: The Last Man), and Lauren Wolkstein (Dare Me).
Dead Ringers is a co-production by Amazon Studios and Annapurna Television. Alice Birch and Rachel Weisz are among the executive producers, along with Ali Krug (The Staircase) for Annapurna Television.
Fans of body horror will be getting very realistic birthing scenes (varying and very direct kinds) rather than torture scenes. And the story does jump quite a bit chronologically. Sometimes it’s made very clear, other times you can tell that time has passed due to events. Such as a pregnancy clearly being much further along or a birthing center has been built.
While I cannot say I was completely thrilled with the storytelling in Dead Ringers on a broader scale, I was beyond thrilled with the acting. First and foremost from Rachel Weisz who should win all the awards available. But also from the supporting cast which is made up of the most brilliant actors.
And, in any case, it is a definite recommendation from me to check out this series on Prime Video.
Dead Ringers (2023) is on Prime Video from April 21, 2023.
Directors: Sean Durkin (101, 102,106), Karena Evans (103), Lauren Wolkstein (104, 106), Karyn Kusama (105)
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Britne Oldford, Poppy Liu, Michael Chernus, Jennifer Ehle, Emily Meade
A modern take on David Cronenberg’s 1988 thriller starring Jeremy Irons, Dead Ringers will feature Rachel Weisz playing the double-lead roles of Elliot and Beverly Mantle, twins who share everything: Drugs, lovers, and an unapologetic desire to do whatever it takes—including pushing the boundaries on medical ethics—in an effort to challenge antiquated practices and bring women’s health care to the forefront.