A Curve, figuratively speaking, is to introducing something unexpected or requiring a quick reaction and this film throws a few of ’em…at least in the beginning.
Julianna Hough (Mallory) is a bride-to-be driving through the California mountains in a truck jamming out to Swedish cringe-rockers, Roxette.
She takes the scenic route instead of plowing straight ahead to Colorado and her ride breaks down in what Germans call “the ass of the world,” (am Arsch der Welt) or basically the absolute middle of nowhere/the sticks.
And that’s not surprising. After all, what would the horror movie genre be without that motif? It got kids into trouble in the 70s slasher film Tourist Trap, and countless others (also, her vehicle of choice is a Ford, which in some circles is an acronym for: “found on roadside dead” or “failure of research and development.”)
Suddenly, a sweaty, ripped Good Samaritan emerges from the underbrush…is this a Vivid Entertainment production or a Lifetime movie? He helps her get the vehicle roadworthy again, and guilty Mallory offers the drifter a ride to the nearest major highway.
Curve is a film in two parts: the first, a compact, smart, isolated, talky, and engagingly claustrophobic survivalist horror (the bulk of the film takes place with the gamely physical Hough upside down in a roadside wreck); the second, a backslide into slasher conventions (no cell signals, etc) and aggressive stupidity, not to mention a once-in-a-generation Golden State deluge.
Stamped with the Blumhouse imprimatur (for what it’s worth…in our circles increasingly devalued cultural currency), Curve seems to have been overly tinkered with along the production highway and according to Variety, got a rewrite. Given the state of the industry, a two-character horror might have given backers pause, but it was probably part of the original vision and would’ve made a better choice overall.
Proceed at your own risk.
**3/4 (out of 5)