Curtain AKA The Gateway
R2 - United Kingdom - Icon Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Matthew Crossman (18th July 2016).
The Film

A man sleeps on a subway train and then is awoken by a nightmare. He staggers through the dark and snowy streets until he comes to his cramped apartment. The door to his bathroom is taped shut but now the man cuts through the tape. He enters the bathroom and douses the entire room in gasoline and then lights his lighter. The flamer flickers and then he snaps shut his lighter. The man goes to the kitchenette area of the apartment and takes a table cloth off the table, spilling the tables contents to the floor, and puts up the table cloth where a show curtain would hang. In his hand is a sharp Stanley Knife. Suddenly the man is not alone and then just as suddenly the man is slumped on the floor dead, his throat cuts, drops of blood dripping from the Stanley Knife.

Danni (Danni Smith) is moving into her new apartment. Danni used to be a hospice nurse but now works for the charity 'Whale Savers'. Danni used to live with her Uncle Gus (Rick Zahn) but is now trying to find her own way again after leaving her nursing job. Danni is finally moved in and buys a brand new shower curtain to hang around the shower. The next morning when she awakes the shower curtain has gone. She suspects that someone has entered her apartment whilst she was sleeping and has removed it, despite the windows being locked and the chain still attached on the door. Danni then ventures out and buys a new shower curtain. Seconds after hanging it up she hears a noise from the bathroom and when she investigates the new shower curtain has also disappeared. Not to be deterred Danni buys a third shower curtain, hangs it up, but this time sets up her mobile phone to record what goes on when she leaves the room. Immediately after leaving the bathroom Danni once again hears a noise and once again the shower curtain is gone only this time she has it on video. The video shows the shower curtain being sucked into the bathroom wall and disappearing. She shows the video to her co-worker Tim (Tim Lueke) at 'Whale Savers' and he comes up with the plan that they get another curtain and this time paint their names and telephone number on the curtain with the hope that wherever it goes it will be found and the finder will call them. The following day Danni and Tim receive a call from Willy (Gregory Konow) who appears slightly deranged. He agrees to meet them in New Jersey at a disused diner. Danni and Tim meet up with Willy and the shower curtain is returned to the pair but it is shredded and cover in a goo. Willy explains that he found the shower curtain at the creek where he lives and agrees to take them to the spot. Then things started to get really weird.

It's always interesting to see a horror film with a different approach and that is exactly what 'Curtain' is. Whilst the concept of the film shares similarities with the movie 'Being John Malkovich' most of the film is really rather unique. The two main characters of Danni and Tim are a juxtaposition of each other. Danni, despite being quite young is portrayed as rather World weary having experienced some rather unpleasant things in her previous job as a hospice nurse taking care of people that are dying. Tim on the other hand is eager and enthusiastic and very much an idealist. Where Danni sees the taking of the shower curtains as an unpleasant inconvenience Tim sees it as a great opportunity that might lead to their fame and fortune. For a low budget horror movie the film is well show and belies it's meagre budget with some inventive shots and angles from Director Jaron Henrie-McCrae (who also co-wrote the screenplay with Cary Edwards). It's a short film at just 70 minutes long but this means there is hardly any padding to the film and every scene and shot is needed to make the film work. The mystery of what is happening to the shower curtains and who (or what) is behind their disappearance will keep the viewer glued to their seat. There are a few minor negatives which is to be expected and these are mainly down to the occasional wooded performances from some of the cast but overall they do just fine. 'Curtain' does afford the viewer some decent scare moments too and the film just gets creepier and creepier the longer it goes on.

Video

Icon Entertainment have issued 'Curtain' on DVD with an anamorphic 2.35:1 picture which is the films original aspect ratio. As you would expect from a film barely a year old the picture quality is pretty faultless. There are no signs of any damage or artefacts present and colours and tones are exhibited well.

Audio

This DVD offers viewers two choices (both English) in how to listen to the film and these are a Dolby Stereo 2.0 track and a Dolby Digital 5.1 option. Obviously the 5.1 option is the one to go for should your set up allow it. There is a subtle bass hum that runs through the film that is sorely missed when listening to the 2.0 mix and there are some good rear speaker effects to with the 5.1 mix. The 2.0 mix is acceptable but does take something away from the overall enjoyment of the movie as the makers of the film have obviously taken care of the soundtrack and it's use. English HoH subtitles are available.

Extras

Introduction (2.24) - Paul McEvoy and Alan Jones, producers of Frighfest Presents, give a brief overview of what the film entails and, as you would expect, the are very enthusiastic and rightly so.

Audio Commentary (1.10.27) - This cast and crew commentary features Director and co-writer Jaron Henrie-McCrae, Carys Edwards (co-writer and producer) Danni Smith, Martin Monahan (who plays The Pale Man), Adam Skerrit (Music), and Tim Lueke. The commentary is a very interesting look into what could be called guerilla film making and it's quite clear that everyone involved had a blast making the movie and that comes across in the commentary.

The Making of 'Curtain' (9.03) - A fun look at the making of 'Curtain' narrated by Tim Lueke. The short documentary is great fun showing the things the small cast and crew had to go through to get the movie completed.

Trailers - The following are all titles that are being released as Frighfest Presents DVD's through June, July and August:
- The Unfolding (1.35)
- Landmine Goes Click (1.42)
- Last Girl Standing (1.49)
- The Lesson (1.37)

Overall

A mash up of horror, science fiction and fantasy, 'Curtain' takes an unusual premise and takes the viewer on a pretty wild ride. This is not your standard horror movie and viewers will be grateful for something a little different I think, I know I was. Whilst the budget for the movie was very small all the cast and crew do exceptional work and show that you don't need millions of bucks to turn out good work.

The Film: B+ Video: B+ Audio: B+ Extras: B+ Overall: B+

 


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