Friday, 22 July 2016

Curtain Review – The kind of film FrightFest Presents was made for

Another week, and another win for FrightFest Presents' latest batch of DVD releases. Curtain is weird, wonderful and a breezy 74-minutes long.

You know you’re in for something a bit different from the premise: a whale activist, Danni (Danni Smith), moves into a New York apartment with an invisible shower curtain-sucking portal in the bathroom. After losing a number of perfectly good drapes, she recruits fellow whale-saver, Tim (Tim Leuke), to investigate. But, a creepy recurring, and ever expanding, The Ring-like montage doesn’t exactly offer us peace of mind.


Director, co-writer (with Carys Edwards) and cinematographer, Jaron Henrie-McCrea, pins down the surface genre elements with some welcome world building. Despite the brisk running time, he takes his time to develop strong relationships between his characters, as well as offering rewarding hints at their backstories. The events of the film seem like just the latest obstacle in a long line of them for many of these characters and that’s an interesting, and gratifying, approach to the cult-y set-up. The emotion extends beyond the snapshot captured for our viewing pleasure.

It’s something that has impressed me about so many of these FrightFest Presents titles (especially given their minimal resources), but Henrie-McCrea once again displays real flare with the camera. Curtain’s visuals are more openly experimental than many of FFP’s other releases, however, and Henrie-McCrea use of space is particularly interesting. He finds visually dynamic angles in every corner of this tiny apartment and its cramped bathroom, giving us multiple variations of the central location to keep us on our toes.

This visual flare extends beyond the interiors, to the point that it comes across as slightly uneven early on. Certain camera tricks and left-field shot choices seem included just for the hell of it, but it does become a more streamlined viewing experience as things progress. Adam Skerritt’s synthy score catches the ear, just as Henrie-McCrea’s visuals catch the eye. Again, it never settles into much of a groove, but it’s a fun 80s Cartpenter-esque throwback and its sheer strangeness sets it apart from any pre-existing soundtracks.

Curtain is the kind of film FrightFest Presents was made for. It’s a low-budget genre oddity that may never have found a home anywhere else, but Alan Jones, Paul McEvoy and co. embrace the strange and, more often than not, strike gold with their picks. And this one’s 24 Carat.

★★★★

Curtain is out now on DVD in the UK via FrightFest Presents.

For more reviews of the FrightFest Presents films, click here.

Image courtesy of Fetch Publicity.