As someone whose been watching Horror/Sci-Fi films longer than many of you have been alive, I don’t mind calling myself jaded. Mind you, I don’t take much joy out of calling myself that, but I’ve seen so many movies over the millenia that it’s pretty much impossible for any film maker to come up with that I haven’t seen before. And when I sat down to watch this film, titled Curtain, I wasn’t expecting much of anything.
I was wrong. Really, really wrong.
Taking place in NYC, Curtain tells a very simple story. Danni (Danni Smith) is a former nurse who decides to take a break from her job at a hospice, and look for something new to do with her life. The first thing she does is get herself a small studio apartment to try to gain some independence and separate herself from her loving, but overbearing Uncle Gus (Rick Zahn). Once she moves in, she discovers that the previous tenant mysteriously passed away, and while she’s mildly put off upon finding that out, she doesn’t let it keep her from enjoying life in her new digs. She begins to decorate a bit, and settle in but she needs a new shower curtain in her bathroom. Upon returning from the store, new shower curtain in hand, she hangs it in her bathroom. She returns home to find the curtain is missing, and she assumes the pesky maintenance man Preston (Preston Lawrence) came by to repair something and ruined it. So she buys another one, and it too, suddenly disappears. Allowing her curiosity to get the best of her, Danni sets up a camera inside her bathroom to record what’s happening. And when she reviews the recording, she discovers that her shower curtains are being sucked into some type of interdimensional portal! But Danni wants to know more, she wants to find out exactly who’s sucking up her curtains, where they are, and why her shower curtains anyway?
Danni enlists the help of her close friend (the film hints at some romantic interest between the two), Tim (Tim Lueke), who works gathering signatures from people on the street to help stop whale fishing. Together the two of them run into a fiendish cult, diagrams that might lead to something or someone, a really odd excursion to New Jersey with a alcoholic leading the way and some genuine laughs, scares, plot twists and a bit of melancholy as well. Putting all of these wildly disparate story bits together might sound like folly, and I daresay that in the hands of anyone but Writer/Director Jaron Henrie-McCrea, it probably would be. But McCrea (along with co-writer Carys Edwards) has managed to stitch all of this together into what has to be one of the most original films I’ve seen this year. Nowadays, you just don’t see too many movies about bathroom curtains getting sucked into a void, and the people who want to find out why that’s happening.
Both Smith (in her screen debut) and Lueke give wonderful performances here. Neither one of their characters knows how to start figuring out the situation with the curtains, and both actors portray their initial confusion convincingly. They have a nice rapport between them that feels quite organic and natural, as if they’ve really known each other for years. This really helps because as the film progresses into “WTF?” land, I found that I didn’t want anything to happen to either one of them. And once they discover exactly where the curtains are being sucked away to, Curtain becomes a completely different film. Or at least, one of the most unexpectedly odd films I’ve ever seen. Yet, none of that hurts the film in the least, as it completely satisfies its wacky mission to entertain its audience completely.
Did I say “Wacky”? Yes I did, and admittedly, those of you with short attention spans will probably dislike Curtain. There aren’t any explosions every five minutes, or creative deaths, or glossy CGI here to keep you awake. But the few special effects to be found here are actually pretty good, especially considering the film’s obvious low budget. But no one watching this film should find it to be any less than intriguing. And if you aren’t at the very least intrigued by what’s going on here, then you must not be human! I can’t say any more about what’s exactly going on in Curtain, but I will say that it’s quite unique and special. Seriously, what more would a person need to enjoy a movie? This is something you’ve never seen before, I know it. And as such, it deserves to be seen by everyone that can see it.
Films like Curtain don’t come around very often, and when they do they’re often indescribable. And, more often than not, they usually fade away into some funky netherworld of unloved films waiting to be picked up by second rate VOD services like Crackle. Although it hasn’t been picked up by a distributor just yet (what the hell is wrong with you guys?), I implore you to keep your eyes open for this film. Curtain tells a wonderfully odd tale that runs a gamut of emotions (it ends in a sweet, but melancholy manner that was totally unexpected as well) and eccentric plot twists that shouldn’t make sense – but do. I was hooked after five minutes, and I really feel it’s one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Don’t let it pass you by.
Curtain (4 / 5)