Jason Blum and his BlumHouse Productions must be considered the natural successor to the likes of Roger Corman and Charles Band in that that they relentlessly pump out genre fair in a way that no other production house does. Unlike those schlockmeisters of old though BlumHouse nearly always delivers at the very least a slick and well made movie. The pay off is that there is a distinct lack of rubber monsters but I suppose you can’t have everything. Another thing Blumhouse seem happy to do is experiment a bit, hence we are here with Curve which is essentially a film about a girl trapped upside down in a car.
No, no come back! It’s actually pretty good. Okay so it’s a survival film about someone trying to beat the odds so obviously there will be tropes of eating vermin and drinking piss, but this is also a horror movie so there’s a deranged psychopath to deal with too.
Two things raise this above what could have been a right old slog to get through. Firstly Julianne Hough gives it a right old go as Mallory, a bride to be taking the scenic route to her own wedding who, obviously foolishly, picks up a hitchhiker in the middle of nowhere. At first Mallory seems to fragile and flakey to be a character who can survive a horror movie but after being bashed up in a car crash of her own doing she starts to show her mettle – unable to escape the wreck in a deep ravine in the wilderness, she battles to survive within her very limited means. Only once does she accept that she might die when she writes a note to her sister, but even then she is seeking some kind of justice for her situation. A situation that she has been put in by the mental hitch-hiker played Teddy Sears who maybe is a little too chiselled and handsome to be such a nut job, but then I suppose that’s the point.
Anyway Hough must have had a right old nightmare making Curve, seeing as she spends most of the film upside down in a metal box, and her central performance really anchors the film and make you care. However the second thing that makes the film work has to be Ian Softley who made the sadly forgotten The Wings of The Dove and Backbeat back in the 1990s. Softley never quite made it to the big league of directors but he is a film maker who always brings his best to every project he makes even if it doesn’t quite work (cough cough K-Pax). A lesser director might not have been able to make the most out of such a small location but Softley really exploits the car’s cabin to the full: heightening the claustrophobic atmosphere with tight close ups and weird angles, making certain things difficult to see (on purpose). All of this looks beautiful. Softley’s filmography is full of gorgeous looking visuals and this is no exception.
Alright, Curve still is a movie set for a large chunk of its time in one very small space with one actor and if you weren’t interested in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours then I very much doubt you’ll be very keen on this. But for the rest of you it’s a tight, entertaining horror thriller which could only be made by Blumhouse nowadays, and even if the ending is a little too convenient it’s still worth locking yourself away in a little room and watching.
Also the film knows that this kind of thing shouldn’t be too long. In fact at just over eighty minutes it’s actually pretty short. Much like this review…
Oh, one more thing. I just want to say – what the hell is this poster!?! It’s terrible: