When Villeneuve was making “Enemy” in May of 2012, he was conscious of the comparison some might make between “Enemy” and “Dead Ringers.” “Enemy” is also about a pair of identical men, although not explicitly brothers. Nevertheless, they become weirdly, psychically intertwined; they have common dreams, for instance. In an interview with Filmmaker Magazine, Villeneuve revealed that, in order to overcome what literary critic Harold Bloom referred to as The Anxiety of Influence, he rewatched “Dead Ringers” several times during production to avoid using any of the dynamics or visual tricks that Cronenberg had laid out in 1988:
“In some ways, when you’re doing a movie [today], it’s very tough to make something new. Even when you think you are making something new, you find out later that somebody did it before you. It’s very hard, very frustrating. Of course, we watched ‘Dead Ringers’ again.”
And Villeneuve was unnerved throughout the process. Not because he found he was imitating his predecessor, but because “Dead Ringers” is such a terse, emotionally confrontational movie. There’s a reason you’ll find it in the horror section of your local video store.
“‘Dead Ringers’ is one of the most traumatic movies I’ve seen in my life. ‘Dead Ringers’ deals with that kind of strange exploration of intimacy as well, but from a different point of view.”