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The Curse of Downers Grove (2015)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Derick Martini

Starring:
Bella Heathcote/Chrissie
Lucas Till/Bobby
Kevin Zegers/Chuck
5 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A young girl (Bella Heathcote) almost gets raped by a hot-shot jock (Kevin Zegers) and after rebutting his advances the jock goes psycho-a-go-go. There’s also talk of some killer curse in town that drops every year but yeah, that’s more of an afterthought…
THE LOWDOWN

When The Curse of Downers Grove (watch it here for yourself) was pitched my way in terms of tapping it for review; two things sold me on it. 1- It was written by bold writer Bret Easton Ellis, the madman behind American Psycho, The Rules of Attraction and Less then Zero   and 2- The trailer made it look like a potent horror film, one that had the potential to keep me on my toes. So you can imagine my surprise when I finally got around to it and found out that it wasn’t a horror film about some mysterious curse for shit. Instead what I got was a teen angst drama cum thriller about date rape and revenge. Talk about mis-advertising! But hey, I get it, you gotta sell the thing and horror is like Hansel, "it's so hot right now". So how was it for what it was? Aight I guess...

The Curse of Downers Grove was more akin to Ellis The Rules of Attraction than say The Grudge. The film displayed a credible teen cast (Of course the bad kids do lots of cocaine, it's a Bret Easton Ellis story after all), fairly clever (at times a bit too wordy) dialogue and grounded teenage situations that were taken to somewhat entertaining extremes. The cast also made the film worthwhile; Bella Heathcote was credible and endearing as our lead chica, Kevin Zegers simply blew me away as the chilling nut-job, Lucas Till was affable as always while the small cameos by Tom Arnold (who goes full a-hole here - loved it) and Helen "Supergirl" Slater were appreciated by this jerk. Add to a fairly gritty and almost “verite” visual style and a last act that harshly double downed on the violence and the red grub and you get a decent watch. So what’s holding me back from giving this one more love?

Well for starters, although the chain of events was compelling to varied degrees, pass the first plot point, I can’t say much happened till the last act. When I start doing push-ups while clocking a flick, you know it’s losing me some. There just wasn’t enough twists in the storyline for my liking. This beeyotch also had the annoying knack of slapping in these odd editing flashes that served no purpose other than to say “look a weird flash, be intrigued, we’re stylish”. I found it cheap and redundant. The same went for the movie’s habit of re-using its own footage for  useless dream sequences. Nothing wrong with recycling your coverage now and again but this one went overboard in that department to the point it felt like filler to pad up the clock time or a sad sack attempt at validating its “horror” tag. Finally I’m not sure if I liked the ending or not, am still digesting it I as I type this non-sense, one thing is for certain though, the voice over that followed the cap-off totally turned me off and softened what was a fairly visceral finale.

So all in all, I watched The Curse of This Title is Too Long and Easy to Forget, the end credits rolled, I had a Pop Tart and now I’ve forgotten all about it. One of those/ All yours! I'm done!

GORE
We get an eye gouged out, some shotgun fun, broken fingers and animals in pieces.
T & A
Surprisingly none. Odd taking into account the subject matter…
BOTTOM LINE
The Curse of Whatever the F*ck was more like an After School Special on coke than a horror film. Think realistic teens (tackled by a solid cast - Kevin Zegers impressed here), common situations (rape, bullies, revenge) and then an intricate game of cat and mouse. That was all fine and dandy, until the flick decided to piss on its own parade via an uneventful middle section, half baked supernatural elements, duh dream sequences, coverage recycling overdose, annoying “look at me” editing tricks and final frames that had me say “not sure I like this”. A disposable watch in my book ,clock it if you got time to kill or don’t clock it all, your world hoss, I’m just living in it!
BULL'S EYE
There's a "true story" claim on this film, checked around, didn't find anything to back up said claim. You know something I don't?

Hayden Panettiere, Lucy Hale and Nicki Reed was all cast in the lead female rolls when the project was announced in 2011, but all dropped out for unknown reasons.

Penelope Mitchell was also in "The Vampire Diaries" and "Hemlock Grove"
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