A rare prequel which is helped by the inevitability of its conclusion, Lynch shows us the unflinching death spiral of the final days of Laura Palmer’s tragic life. Sheryl Lee’s performance here is harrowing and multifaceted. At times sardonic, sensual, or hysterical, implying a fractured psyche resulting from repeated trauma, Palmer is our point of view into the twisted underbelly of Twin Peaks.
The vague otherworldliness that underlined the main series comes bursting to the forefront in a nightmarish sensory assault. Murder, hellish beings, and drug fueled mania are presented in a impressionistic barrage, a cacophony of flashing images and screams. In the original series, as well as in Blue Velvet, we can see Lynch’s fascination with poking at the notion of hidden evils and dangers lurking under the pristine visage of suburbia. But here, this hidden evil is clearly exposed, and the whole thing flys into a sort of primal fury.
It has its problems; the opening sequence feels as though it could have been abandoned in the edit. Some of the melodrama around James, which works so well in the original series, feels poorly placed in the far more grave context of this film. But these complaints are overshadowed by its grim beauty, its unflinching weirdness, and the fleeting hint of optimism that bookends the harrowing journey