Threshold is a movie that’s been released by Arrow video recently. It’s an intriguing movie that really showcases the concept of indie-DIY film-making as perhaps few (if any)other films do. That’s one of a few things that make me think this movie (listed some places as horror, but described by Arrow as horror drama) is very punk rock oriented.
Before we get into other details, let’s talk about that DIY aspect. First, this movie was filmed on a road trip. There were three people on the crew, and it was also shot on two iPhones. If that’s not DIY enough, there was no formal script. The whole movie was improvised.
I said there were other punk aspects. The first of those can be seen as one of the two lead characters digs his old car out. The Saturn has a hood that’s covered with stickers, achieving a classic “punk” look. Additionally we find that he had been in a punk band years ago, and we hear one of their songs in the car later. There is another punk song heard before that, in the opening moments of the film, and he screams his frustrations out with that as the backdrop/
So, what’s the movie about? At its core it centers around two characters – a brother and sister – who have been estranged for years being brought back together. At first their relationship is somewhat adversarial, obviously part of their current situation, but also loaded up with unfinished business from their past. Over time they get to know one another again and become a team as they work beyond many of their past problems.
As you can tell, that makes this, at its core, a road film which focuses on mending of relationships – a character piece. It is actually quite compelling on that level, and I really found myself caring about both characters and their relationship to one another.
You might wonder where the horror aspect comes in. Well, I will say that in a lot of ways that’s a minor part of this movie. When the brother goes looking for his sister it’s because the family believes that she is using drugs, and he plans to take her to rehab.
We learn quickly that there is more to it than that, and there is the horror of the film. She claims to be “cursed,” but what she really means is a bit different than the classic idea of a curse. She says that (and evidence builds that she is telling the truth) a group had offered to help her to get clean, but it turned out to be some sort of a cult. There was a supernatural ritual performed that bound her to a man who was a stranger to her. From that point forward they could share experiences.
So, the road trip evolves from the intended trip to a rehab to finding the mystery man and figuring out a way to break the link. After the first short section of the movie, there really aren’t a lot of horror-specific scenes, and from that standpoint the film could be judged as exceptionally slow. However, there is a sense of dread that sort of hangs over most of the scenes because of that introduction.
In terms of horror there are really only a couple other places where anything resembling real horror movie stuff appears. One scene late in the middle portions of the film is one of those. The closing section is the other. I have to say that that second one I found rather troubling, not from any kind of scare factor, though. It really doesn’t resolve the story at all. In fact, it leaves far more answers than questions. I thought it made for an unsatisfying conclusion. That said, though, perhaps the journey is the point of the movie, not the resolution.
However you slice it, as long as you don’t come looking for a lot of blatant horror content or a really developed ending, this is quite an intriguing film. It’s also a real marvel of movie-making that shows the power of ingenuity to over-come minuscule budgets and less than professional equipment. Isn’t that DIY aspect a big part of punk rock? It’s really why I’m so convinced this is a punk rock movie. Gary Hill