Nothing makes me happier than being surprised. When I sat down last night to watch Tim Egan’s short, CURVE, I didn’t have any expectations. I knew a bit about the synopsis, which was what interested me in the first place, but I never expected to have such a visceral reaction to something that is only 9 minutes long. The story is simple, a woman awakens to find herself on the precipice of a large curved object. There is nothing around except for this structure she is on. She has no recollection of how she got there and even more horrifying, she has no idea what is below her in the darkness. Though the premise seems simple enough, and it is, it’s one of the most effective and chilling shorts I’ve seen in past years.
What sets this short apart from others is there’s only one scene, one actor, no spoken words, very little blood and no monsters/creatures/killers (that we can see). As the seconds rolled by, I found myself holding my breath as the tension continued to grow. There is something incredibly uncomfortable about watching someone who’s life is literally hanging in the balance. You want to reach out and help them, urge them just to take another breathe and push with all their might, but then you are reminded that you are watching something on a screen and no matter how many times you shout at it, it won’t change the outcome. Deep down, you know there’s no hope of survival and yet you pray for a miracle.
Something that I really loved about CURVE was that it cut out all the bullshit, all the meaningless bloodshed and conversation fillers, and got right to the meat of the issue. There is no grace period, no slow burn or illusion of comfort. For 9 minutes, you have to watch this woman struggle with absolute fear and terror in her eyes and it’s unsettling. Even now, sitting here writing about it, sends a chill throughout my body. The actress who’s the focal point of this short is nothing less than convincing. It difficult watching her try to piece together how she got where she is and how to address the problem in front of her. Her facial features don’t hide the complete terror she is in but you can see glimpses of determination that peek through the edges. She will not give in and she will not go down without a fight. We watch as she digs her nails into the smooth curve of the concrete and desperately attempts to get any type of leverage so that she can move away from the edge. I could feel my heart pounding and the blood rushing throughout my head. I’m stuck staring at the screen, afraid to blink for fear of missing what could happen. I then realize that I am completely afraid of this scenario in front of me, of this notion of impending death, but doing whatever you could to not give up.
As the end credits roll, I sat there stunned. What I just viewed was complete perfection and I knew I wanted more. Though this short may not be for everyone, especially if you are one that likes bloodshed and action, I would still urge you to check out this hidden gem. Those of us who find ourselves affected by desperation, silence, and sheer hopelessness will be left feeling empty and shaken. For as many films as I watch, especially those within the horror genre, I thought it would take a lot to make me feel the emotions that I did, but in the end, all it took was a simple premise, a terrific actress, and precise directions to make me feel as though I lost someone. I don’t know what else Tim Egan has in store for CURVE, this may only be left as a short and nothing more, but I truly hope they expand this into a feature. Until then, I can only begin to imagine what lurks at the bottom of the curve.