Kimberly Lofstrom Johnson and Lee Paterson’s screenplay takes the plots of a victim terrorized by a psychopath and the stories of being trapped in a confined place fighting to survive and mashes them together to create the 2015 thriller ‘Curve’. Now for viewing on Netflix, the film is an interesting take on two different white knuckle ideas. The film stars Julianne Hough as Mallory, a bride to be driving through the desert to Denver for her wedding rehearsal. After some car trouble she decides to give a ride to the helpful hitchhiker Christian, played by Teddy Sears. Realizing the seemingly nice stranger actually poses a threat to her life, Mallory drives her vehicle off the road in attempt to escape. She then finds herself trapped, her leg pinned between the seats, and fighting to survive. All the while, the dangerous Christian, who has survived the crash, continues to toy with her.
Kimberly Lofstrom Johnson also directs and the plot offers plenty of opportunities for suspense, fear, and tension. Unfortunately what could have been a film of utmost inscrutableness only manages to reach mediocrity. That’s not to say the film is bad, it just isn’t very good. The location gives the film a slight feeling of desolation but not enough. There are several holes that are not plugged satisfactorily. Why is Mallory having 2nd thoughts about her future wedding? Why is she traveling alone through the desert back to Denver for her wedding rehearsal? Why is Christian doing the things he does, and does he do it often?
Julianne Hough tries very hard but just doesn’t give you the full feeling of panic or fear in her situation. When her character reaches the point of starving the viewer never really feels her desperation, nor does her entire situation feel like life or death. Yes, she’s trapped in the car and it’s awful, but again, the full impact that she could die here just doesn’t hit you hard enough in the gut. Trapped in her car in the desert and one of the most fearful animals that poses a danger to her comes in the form of rats. Yes, rats. Teddy Sears also delivers a passable performance as Christian with the things he says to Mallory, but his overall imposing figure leaves much to be desired. He comes across as very crude and cold, but he doesn’t fill you with fear as a psychopathic murderer, at least not until the end. By then viewers will actually be kind of bored with him.
The conclusion comes with some hair raising surprises, showing the audience Mallory isn’t the only victim to Christian’s cat and mouse game. It’s another unique aspect letting the audience view the horror at the same time as Mallory. For the first time in the film the director finally makes Christian someone to fear, but as stated previously, it comes too late. Both Julianne Hough and Teddy Sears both try to deliver, but they can only do so much for this film. ‘Curve’ presents a very thrilling idea of putting two different spine chilling plots together but fails to deliver what is promised. ‘Curve’ is not a terrible film, yet it is not a great film either, which is what it could have been. Grievously like the chosen title for the film, it forgets to bring the thrills and settles on average.