'Twisted' Review: A 'Psycho' Murder Mystery for Teens
'Twisted' Review: A 'Psycho' Murder Mystery for Teens
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Following the exhilarating season 3 finale of Pretty Little Liars, ABC Family gave viewers a sneak peek at its newest creepy mystery drama, Twisted. The show won't air again until it returns with the fourth season of Pretty Little Liars Tuesday, June 11.

The decision to air it along with the Liars finale is smart, as it will get a lot of crossover fans, but the most unfortunate fact is that A&E premiered Bates Motel the night before. The two dramas have a lot in common. Bates Motel is a re-imagined prequel to Psycho while Twisted also borrows heavily from the disturbing tale of the sociopathic Norman Bates. References to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho abound, such as when one character says that the boy she knew "wouldn't hurt a fly" (a direct quote from the movie) and the sociopath responds with "I'm no psycho."

Bates Motel is more adult, more moody and creepy. Twisted, however, is more in line with ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars, a mystery filled with attractive high school students and questionable adults, all of whom serve as potential suspects.

Twisted begins with two girls playing on a swing set when an 11-year-old boy walks out of a giant mansion clutching a jump rope, repeating that he had to do it. The "it" in question was murdering his aunt, their babysitter.

Five years later the boy, Danny Desai (Victorious star Avan Jogia), is released back into the public, allegedly reformed, to attend the same high school as his childhood pals. Needless to say, most students and parents aren't happy about having a "socio," as they all call him, as a classmate.

The two girls have followed wildly different paths. Lacey (Kylie Bunbury) has become popular, surrounding herself with mean girls (one of whom, Regina, is instantly attracted to Danny) and a hot boyfriend (The Nine Lives of Chloe King star Grey Damon). Jo (The Finder's Maddie Hasson), on the other hand, is an outcast whose only pal is the nerdy Rico. And her dad is the sheriff, which is sure to play an important role in the mystery.

On his first night back Danny gets invited to Regina's house for a huge party. He manages to quickly get Jo and Lacey to be his friends again, though he rebuffs Regina's repeated sexual advances. The next morning Regina is dead. Guess who the prime suspect is?

The pilot leaves it to the audience to judge Danny. He's charming, but he doesn't seem all that damaged by spending five years locked away after killing his aunt. His ponytail seems to be a metaphor for his character, tight and pulled back, but with a few strands of hair sneaking out to frame his face. When the school's psychology teacher (played by Kathy Najimy) defines a sociopath as someone who has no conscience or empathy, but tries to mimic human emotions, we and the rest of the town are left to try and determine if that applies to Danny.

Following in the footsteps of Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game, Twisted will focus on who killed Regina, how it's connected to Danny killing his aunt and all the other huge mysteries surrounding the town. I'll be sticking around this summer to learn the truth, but for now, here are all the pertinent details of the case from the pilot. Some may not be important, but I think they're worth mentioning in case they turn into something.

The Clues

-Danny claims he had a good reason for killing his aunt, but he isn't allowed to tell anyone ever. He later says that he can't tell Jo because he's protecting her.

-The only reason Danny is still in the same town is because his mother wanted him to stay. She says it's for financial reasons, because his father gambled and made bad investments and no one wants to buy the home of a teen sociopath.

-Shortly before Danny was released, his father fell off a company yacht, allegedly drunk, and his body was never found.

-Regina wore a distinct necklace, and the aunt Danny murdered wore the exact same necklace. When Regina's body was found, the necklace was missing, Danny told the sheriff he didn't recognize it, but he has a necklace just like it at his home.

-At the party, a drunk Jo did a body shot off a jock named Scott who then tried to force her to reciprocate. Danny almost got into a fight with Scott (who is friends with Lacey's boyfriend Archie), but Danny whispered something to the guy that made him instantly cower away in fear. Later Scott claimed Danny said he'd kill him and enjoy it like he did with his aunt. Also, Scott claims he offered to have sex with Regina at the party so she wouldn't try to sleep with Danny.

-The body shot idea came from Sarita, Lacey's other mean girl best friend who spent a summer at theater camp. Danny also used to make fun of her for having a mustache when they were kids.

-Lacey's soccer star boyfriend Archie wasn't at the party because he needed to prepare for a big game the next day.

-Jo got very drunk at the party (possibly because her drink was spiked). When she went home she drunkenly told her mother and father all about doing body shots and how Regina wanted to have sex with Danny and then pass him on to her after she was finished.

-After the party Danny got a text message from Regina (or someone pretending to be Regina) asking him to come over. The text claimed she got the number from someone else and ended by saying that they needed to talk because she knew why he killed his aunt.

So what do you think? Is Danny's dad really dead? Is Sarita vicious enough to kill? Was Archie REALLY at home during the party? Why do Regina and Aunt Tara have the same necklace? And after they used the word "Socio" (the show's original title) about a million times in the pilot, wouldn't that have been better title than Twisted?

Post your thoughts on the pilot and get ready for a very Twisted summer on ABC Family.

(Image courtesy of ABC Family)