The Curse of Downers Grove (2015)

August 23, 2015 - 8:42pm | FrighT MasteR
  Tags: based on book, Bella Heathcote, Bret Easton Ellis, Bystander Films, curse, Derick Martini, Downers Grove, Hayden Panettiere, Jacqueline Emerson, Kevin Zegers, Lucas Till, Mangrove Media, Mark L. Young, Media Talent Group, Michael Hornberg, Myriad Pictures, Nelson McCormick, Nikki Reed, Penelope Mitchell, Rebecca De Mornay, The Curse of Downers Grove, Tom Arnold

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Derick Martini
Kevin Zegers, Bella Heathcote, Lucas Till, Jacqueline Emerson, Tom Arnold, Penelope Mitchell, Mark L. Young

Based on the book Downers Grove by Michael Hornburg, a film was announced in 2011 with names like Hayden Panettiere, Nikki Reed and Rebecca De Mornay attached to it, but sometime during the development process they all just left. After watching the movie myself it's clear why they did. Advertised as a horror pic, the film is actually better suited as a thriller on the Lifetime channel because there's most certainly no horror elements in here, despite how it may seem.

The story revolves around a young girl named Chrissie, who's a senior at the local high school. Normally nearing the end of high school is a good thing, but not in a town where there's an apparent curse that sends one random senior to their death. Whether it's a suicide, a freak accident, or a murder, if the past several years is any indication, someone's gonna die. And Chrissie suspects it may be her.

That's generally what the official premise is, but the actual story is focused around Chrissie going to a party where she claws the eye out of her potential rapist and narrowly escapes with her life. The rest of the film is essentially just the one-eyed dude stalking and threatening Chrissie and the people around her until the last 20 minutes, where it suddenly turns into a home invasion flick out of nowhere.

Aside from the terrible plot hole-ridden script there are several other things wrong with this movie, like for instance all the guys look like they're pushing 30, especially the little brother who's supposed to be 15 (*rolls eyes*). And the editing is just horrendous, specifically when we get these random convoluted dream sequences that seem completely out of place. Then there are scenes with monotone inner monologue from the female lead that was like something out of a shitty Twilight movie.

It's almost as if the studio wanted the flick to be one thing, while the director (and probably writers) wanted it to be another. This is most prevalent in scenes with violence, especially towards the end because it goes from a teen angst mystery to a bloody home invasion thriller. And not to mention there are just random scenes thrown in to fill the running time, like the antagonist leaving a dozen mutilated dogs on the front yard of the lead--WTF! For what reason!?? And where did he get all those damn dogs!? Who knows! Because after the lead chick screams and yells to call the cops it transitions to the next scene and we don't hear anything about it again.

Negative aside, the production values were decent and the acting was above average, except when it came to the choreography--that stuff was hilariously bad. The movie kept my interest for the most part and I dug the violence towards the end, despite how out of place it seemed.

The Curse of Downers Grove is a Lifetime thriller masquerading as a horror film. It simply doesn't know what it wants to be and next to its terrible script, that's its biggest flaw. Unless you often watch Lifetime channel originals, I'd recommend skipping this mess.

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FrighT MasteR's picture
FrighT MasteR is an avid horror fan / monster hunter extraordinaire, who created and has been running UHM since its inception, way back in 1999.




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