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Film Review

THRESHOLD (2021) Review

Matt reviews ARROW’s upcoming THRESHOLD praising its casts improvisation work and family dynamic. The film hits ARROW on May 3, 2021.

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Threshold (Arrow Films)

Threshold will be released on ARROW in the UK, US and Canada on May 3, 2021. The film is set for release on home video from 5th July, 2021.

Synopsis

When a phone call from out of the blue brings Leo (Joey Millin) back into contact with his sister, Virginia (Madison West), long estranged from her family due to years of drug abuse, he arrives to find her alone in a bare apartment in the midst of an apparent overdose. After the convulsions and nausea subside, Virginia insists to Leo that she has been clean for 8 months due to the help of a mysterious group. She confides to her cynical brother that her edginess and paranoia actually stem from a sinister ritual conducted by the group that took her in at her lowest and eventually revealed themselves to be a cult. This curse bound her emotions and physical sensations to a man she has never met before.

Review

Threshold is a 2020 road trip horror film with a unique creative process. It was almost entirely improvised and shot on 2 iPhones with just the actors and one camera man.  It’s focus is on a brother, Leo (Joey Millin), trying to help his sister, Virginia (Madison West), who claims to have been cursed against her will and who is now spiritually connected to a man on the other side of the country.  She feels what he feels and vice versa whether that be pain, drugs or even pleasure.  Leo understandably thinks it’s all lies and she is merely addicted to drugs but agrees to go with her on this trip on the agreement she seeks help afterwards. 

Front and centre is this brother and sister struggling to rebuild their broken relationship.  It is clear that her absence has caused many problems in the family and while he acts quite coldly to her it is clear he loves her and is willing to go the distance to save her (be it from a curse or from herself).

Now as we never really saw what Virginia is claiming, we are firmly placed on the side of Leo. Mere minutes after stepping away from her she slices a message onto her arm to find out where the man she’s linked to is and subsequently gets an answer in the form of coordinates she just randomly knows.

They set off on the road and begin to slowly bond with childhood stories, music and Virginia finding out what has been happening in Leos life.
Now this film is a slow burn, the horror is never really there throughout, we get moments of unease during the night when Virginia can’t sleep or just stares at her reflection.  These moments are far and few between which is the real flaw of the movie for me. But the relationship building between Leo and Virginia almost make up for it. 

The horror pops back up later in the film when the two get an Air BnB for the night and decide to play with the house Ouiji Board (which hands down is a terrible idea, film or in real life, don’t mess with demons bro!) and out of nowhere a creepy clown faced man turns up to the house.  He reveals himself as the Air BnB owners brother who happens to be attending a Halloween party down the road and came to the house to use the toilet.  He is clearly unhinged and this brought the first real fear moment into the film with how uncomfortable he made the situation.  This is also when Virginia displayed some sort of paranormal powers when she had an ‘episode’ of sorts and was able to extinguish a bunch of candles across the room. This causes the creepy Air BnB brother to call it quits and walk away but the siblings too jump in their car and get away.

The film then slips back into its original premise of the sibling road trip and now that Leo witnessed the Candle trick he has started to believe that his sister might be telling the truth. 

The final climax of the film is really where the supernatural horror aspect comes into play.  Now we won’t spoil it here but it really wraps up the film and gives it the horror genre it wanted to achieve that I would sadly say it did not really earn. The final act was creepy and had some clever camera tricks to create some unease but all of it alone was not enough for me to class it as a full fledged horror. 

Verdict

Threshold ultimately deserves praise for how it was made along with being filmed entirely on 2 iPhones and really did give me memories of my college projects way back when.  While its acting was spot on and the brother/sister dynamic felt genuine it ultimately failed to give me the horror vibes I went in expecting with its original plot. 


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