If there is one word to describe Curtain…‘bonkers’ seems as good as any. Few films can boast a concept so utterly odd…and, even more so, make it work in such a concise and imaginative fashion. While it may suffer from some of the foibles of most low budget horror productions, Curtain is a remarkably successful piece in its own right, one whose vivid imagination puts many mainstream, big budget horror productions to shame.

When Danni moves into her new apartment in the heart of New York, little does she know of the dark legacy of suicide and danger that haunts her new home; an evil that has something to do with…disappearing shower curtains? As Danni’s confusion and curiosity grows, she enlists the help of her workmate Tim, a wannabe activist devoted to the cause of the whales, and together they take a journey into the bizarre, where the boundaries of their dimension are stretched to the limit…and their lives will forever be altered.

Yep. You read that correctly…disappearing shower curtains! That alone should be enough reason to be intrigued by the prospect of this film. However, rather than being simply ridiculous, this concept feeds directly into an atmosphere that perfectly blends the surreal with the humorous; never letting the oddity at the heart of the film fall into the trap of the overly serious, always viewed through a gauze of homage and imagination. There is no greater example of this imagination on display than in the hyper kinetic visual style adopted by director Jaron Henrie-McCrea. The film is a flurry of dynamic edits, skewed angles and manipulated perspectives, all coming together to create an aesthetic that illustrates great. In particular, it’s reminiscent of the vibrant style that marked Sam Raimi’s early career, all energy and youthful zeal, as the camera tumbles and spins following the decent into realms of madness the characters themselves take.

The film is clearly marked by a love of 70s and 80s horror in not only in its surrealism and the aforementioned visual dynamism, but in the sound design. The exceptional soundtrack, whose electronic synth sound is reminiscent of the work of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth through the 1980s, is able to channel the razor sharp eerie energy that beat at the heart of classic horror of that period, while projecting the playful, knowing tone of the film itself in the same motions; a wonderful balance that reflects the shifting layers of humour and horror in the film.

The film however suffers in places due to its inevitable limitations, and a few attempts at style that ultimately don’t land with a flourish. Some of the special effects, particularly practical make-up effects, definitely lack finesse and if they had been given any more prominence would have damaged the film. Also, some of the visual flourishes on display simply don’t work, with a monster POV shot in a contrast of grey and red standing out as something you’d expect from a student film. However, the overall impact of the film and its amiable charm make these issues blemishes that only serve to highlight the delicate balance at work in the film between the scope of its ideas and the reality of its construction.

Curtain is a truly unique and engaging piece of surreal fun. Filled with bold visual creativity, boundless energy and a clear sense of its own identity, it is able to transcend the limits of its small scale and stand alone as a singular slice of off-beat horror.

 

Frightfest Presents review: Curtain
3.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

About The Author

Matthew Hammond is a full time cinephile, specializing in cult, art house and 1980’s cinema. While film is his overwhelming passion, Matthew has been known to enjoy comic books, Sherlock Holmes stories and a good film related T-shirt. Feel free to email me with any questions or comments: mattpaul61@o2.co.uk