A significant time into Tin & Tina, a heavily pregnant Lola is woken up by a gush of wind, seemingly in the way any religious horror films go. We assume she’s been possessed, or worse, something’s wrong with her baby, especially seeing her terribly pale face, but in reality, it’s just all her hair that sheds as if someone has run a pair of scissors through it in random motion. It’s the camera movement that lingers in the air outside of the home in the night and rushes inside at the break of day, as though it were a ghost’s point of view, you know? But that’s when you realize wholly that there is nothing supernatural in Tin & Tina, as it tries to step away from the stereotypical exorcisms that we’ve seen in countless religious horror films, but it’s stunted at a good idea and fails to impress.
I personally felt that a lot of Tin & Tina reminded me of the 2014 Austrian psychological horror film Goodnight Mommy, which had an English remake just last year because of its incredible pacing, sheer terror, and a massive twist that would make M. Night proud. Tin and Tina being at the center of the narrative kind of makes you expect that the film would go in the direction of the aforementioned film or villainize the mother, who might have been the faulty one right from the get-go. I mean, with Lola having been brought up in a convent, having experienced trauma, and most importantly, becoming an atheist, these are all signs for a perfect subject for possession. While I understand the need to make Tin & Tina different, I’d also say that the film has underutilized the protagonist, Lola, and has turned her into a pawn for the ambiguous ending.
Childhood And Upbringing
Lola was the daughter of parents who traveled from town to town to showcase movies. She lived in a camper van that one day caught fire. She was the only survivor, losing half of her right leg in the fire. After this, she was brought up in a convent. We don’t learn much more about what happened to Lola in the convent, but we can assume that she may have been abused, or more importantly, the Bible may have been used as a tool to exact punishment on Lola and the other kids with impairments in the convent she grew up in. This may have caused Lola to begin hating the convent and then eventually switch to not believing in God at all. When Adolfo and Lola get married, it’s 1981, and keeping the era in mind, it would only make sense for Lola to want to start a family of her own, but Lola could’ve desired it more because of the lack of one growing up. All Lola wants to do is to take care of her kids and live a good life.
Miscarriage And Adoption
Adolfo and Lola’s life together has a disastrous start when Lola miscarries her twins on their wedding day, in her wedding dress. The doctor also tells her that it’s impossible for her to have kids because she’s experienced terrible internal damage. This further distances Lola from her belief in divine intervention. But, seeing Lola’s terrible state, Adolfo’s only idea to make her feel better is by immediately adopting children. Not looking after Lola or spending quality time with her but imposing on her the responsibility of a lifetime. We see Adolfo make more ridiculous decisions throughout the film, but in her desperation to save their marriage, Lola agrees to go to the convent. They plan on adopting “healthy” babies, but when Lola encounters Tin and Tina, a pair of twins, around 8–9 years old, who play the organ beautifully, she instantly feels the need to make their lives less miserable and take them home.
Adolfo is skeptical (possibly the only good thing he did in the film), but because Lola insists and he thinks she will be happy, he agrees to take the twins home as their own kids. Lola is surprised by the amount of religious influence the kids carry with them, and within hours of them moving in, there are crucifixes around the house. They have to say grace, and the kids gift them religious presents to show their gratitude. Tin and Tina are strange right from the beginning, and there’s an eerie aura to them. But instead of teaching the kids what’s right and wrong, Lola, who’s still learning the ropes, encourages them to misbehave without any consequences. After a while, the kids use their dangerous understanding of the Bible to harm the poor dog and their school bully by interpreting the words written in too literally. This could be seen in two different ways: either the kids know what they’re doing is wrong and they use the Bible as an excuse to execute their evil plans, or it’s their religious upbringing that has made them delusional with no healthy comprehension of what’s right and wrong. Either way, it makes no sense for Lola and Adolfo to take care of these kids because they don’t quite understand their own problems.
The Power Of Suggestion
We see it very clearly when Lola begins to feel depressed thanks to Adolfo’s lack of support. When Lola gets pregnant a second time, according to the kids, it’s a miracle. Lola begins to question her beliefs at this point (although we don’t really see it; let’s assume that she does). Lola knows that a lot of the things the kids are doing are wrong. When she finds the drawings, she decides to lock away their Bible and get rid off all the religious symbols in the house. She believes that her hair falling out is their doing and a punishment for her taking away their things. They try to feed her milk after tying her hands to the bed and she believes that they’ve poisoned it to kill their unborn brother, as they had mentioned a sacrifice earlier on in the film. But when her water breaks and she has the child, looking very Rosemary-like, her worries start fading. But she can’t rest for a second because the kids try to baptize the baby and dunk him in the swimming pool. Fortunately, she saves the baby, but an incredulously dull Adolfo was too busy watching football to even know what was happening. This is the couple’s last straw, though, and Adolfo burns the Bible. They decide to take the kids back to the convent, and for a month everything is good until the couple is celebrating the baby’s one-month anniversary. Lola has started to see through Adolfo’s nonsense: coming home late and drunk, never getting up to help her with chores, and never bothering to soothe the baby. Lola eats cake while the baby begins to cry, and all Adolfo can do is scream at her and order her to pick up her baby. She has to ask him herself why he wouldn’t do it.
At the same time, it is the night of the Lord’s wrath as a storm approaches the town. Lola and Adolfo continue to fight, and Adolfo tells Lola that he has given her everything: a good house, a good life, and “even a baby”. Before Lola can even say anything, he heads out to fix the TV. In many ways, Adolfo has slowly been mentally abusing Lola too, and she’s clearly not okay with his behavior. There are a few ways we can interpret the last fire of the film, which changes Lola’s life forever. One of the possibilities is that God himself sets Adolfo on fire as a “miraculous” act of mercy in order to prove the truth of his existence to Lola.
Alternatively, we can also believe that Lola has been imagining everything about the kids because of her unresolved childhood trauma. Her hatred for Christianity and God became made her push the kids away from herself. It is also possible that Lola wasn’t actually ready to be a mother, and this was her way of rejecting the possibility through her beliefs and ideas. But there’s also one more possibility: since the kids had asked Adolfo how far the house was from the convent when they first came to the house, they might’ve found a way to the house on the night of the storm. It is possible they were the ones who set Adolfo on fire and then forced Lola to revisit religion to find her baby, who mysteriously disappeared from his room and ended up somewhere else. It is because the kids showed her the path to “miracles” when she got pregnant that Lola resorted to doing the same thing Tin and Tina did to her: suffocation till you can “see Jesus”.
Lola finds the baby and escapes safely and “miraculously” from a burning home. So, she does what anyone would do in her position: she finds her faith in God again for saving her son. When she wakes up the next day, it is Mother Asuncion who meets her at the hospital and confirms that there is no way the kids could’ve been at her house because she woke them up at the convent herself. Lola completely loses herself and goes back to taking care of the kids again. The film eerily ends with Lola saying the word “amen” after the kids say the same at Adolfo’s funeral. It shows how she’s come a full circle and become a child of faith again. Due to her fragile state of mind, Lola is easily deceived and manipulated, so we can guess that’s what the kids were able to do successfully to bring her to their side.