Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Curve Movie Review – Don't Pick up Strangers

Length: 86 minutes
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Rating: R
Director: Iain Softley

Mallory is a not so happy young woman about to be married. She borrowed her boyfriend's Bronco to take a road trip back to Denver for their wedding and to give herself time to think things over. After a call to her sister where she does a bad job of claiming that she's happy and ready to take the plunge, she hops on a deserted stretch of highway to continue her journey. When the car breaks down and she can't get a signal to call for help, she worries about what will happen.

That all changes when a handsome stranger arrives. Christian makes small talk before checking over the engine and getting the car running again. Though she makes up an excuse for leaving him behind, she changes her mind and decides to give him a short ride. He claims there's a nice little hotel nearby where he wants to stay the night and get some food. Still unsure of her future, Mallory suggests that she might stay the night too, which brings out Christian's dark side.

After talking about her sucking his cock and other lewd things, she tries to make him get out, which leads to him pulling a knife on her. He points out that the road is deserted and that the motel they are going to is empty too. Mallory speeds up the car and tries to push him out, but when he grabs the wheel, the car crashes. She wakes upside down with her leg trapped. Christian returns, warns her about fate, and tells her that she must find a way out for herself. The longer they stay on that deserted stretch of road, the darker and more sinister her traveling companion goes and the more she must learn how to fight for herself.

Curve is actually a pretty damn good movie and that's coming from someone who isn't a fan of Julianne Hough. The film does a good job of setting up why she might give some random stranger a ride. We hear the false cheer in her voice when talking to her sister about her fiance, and we see the frustration she feels when she finds random fliers from escort services and strip clubs in his car. It's natural that she might have second thoughts about the wedding and why a handsome stranger might appeal to her.

Speaking of handsome, Teddy Sears is perfectly cast in the Christian role. When he walks up on the side of the road to save her, I don't think there is a woman alive who wouldn't beg for his help. He plays the perfect charming stranger, but he does equally well as a creepy predator. It's like someone flipped a switch in his head that made him go from lovable to terrifying in a split second. There's a glint in his eye that makes you want to take a step back and get away from the situation.

Hough does a better job in this role than in any other film I can name off the top of my head. Though she doesn't seem like the type of woman who would drive a Bronco or even drive herself, you do believe her struggles and actually want to root for her. She even gets a disturbing scene where she has to kill and eat a rat just to survive.

While my description might make you think that Curve takes place entirely on the highway, it doesn't. We have to deal with scenes of Christian being bad in another setting, him kidnapping some random people, and of course, the big fight scene at the end. The addition of a new setting and some new characters actually detracts from the film. After spending so long getting to know Christian and Mallory, we don't care about anyone else who might be in peril because we only care about Mallory. I wish the big resolution came on the same highway we spent 60+ minutes on.

Though I wasn't a huge fan of the last 20 minutes or so of Curved, I thought the first ¾ of the film was interesting enough to recommend it to others.

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