Boston Underground Film Festival Review: CURTAIN

Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing one of the movies I saw at The Boston Underground Film Festival called “Curtain”.  Since the description the festival gave was what initially attracted my attention, I will offer that up as a quick and dirty summary:

Something strange is afoot. There’s a mysterious portal to another dimension in the bathroom and it’s hungry for … shower curtains?

Before we go any further, can we all just stop for a moment and acknowledge that the description above is fantastic?  I mean, how could anyone read that and not be just a little bit curious?  It offers up a little bit of mystery with a large dose of humor promising an interesting ride to any potential viewer.  Given that it slyly raises audience expectations the question we must now pose is, does the film itself deliver?

Let me just say, the story is just as weird and wonderful as the plot summary would lead us to believe.  The fact that they were able to pull in crazy hobos, a creepy cult, a satanic tome, and interdimensional monsters all while keeping the plot feeling somewhat grounded in reality is an impressive feat.  Furthermore, they were able to add some character based humor without ever making it broad enough to descend into parody.  By successfully walking this fine line, they manage to make the main characters relatable which helps to keep the stakes rather high.

The two leads portray their roles perfectly making it easy to accept them as twenty somethings searching for meaning in their lives.  Tim handles this journey with a wide eyed optimism that keeps the tone light enough while still letting the heavier themes of identity and purpose shine through.  Most of the heavy emotional lifting is handled by Danni, who starts out the feature trying to numb herself to the world around her and ends up very differently by the end.  The
chemistry between the introspective Danni and the upbeat Tim never felt forced, but seemed like a perfectly natural progression given the events.  It helps that this is the first feature film work for both of our leads so there are not any preconceived notions behind their characters/performances (quick aside: bonus points to both of them for using their real names).

To be honest, I have never seen anything by writer/director Jaron Henrie McCrae, so I had little idea of what to expect walking into this feature.  The beginning had a kinetic feel to it that pulled back when the more character focused scenes were happening.  Whenever the tempo of the feature picked up, the cinematography became much more fast paced to match.  This stop and start pacing could have felt jarring if it were not for the fact that the story always clued us in
that something big was about to happen so that when things did pick up it felt natural.

Story/Concept: 2
Direction/Style: 2
Scares: 1
Atmosphere: 1
Rewatchability: 2
TOTAL: 8/10

All in all, with a brisk 75 minute runtime and a nicely original conceit, this was a breath of fresh air in a market that feels oversaturated with the same types of movies.

Stay tuned for my review of the 18th Annual Boston Underground Film Festival

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