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‘Threshold’ review: Intimate horror film shot on 2 iPhones

Style over substance?

Threshold constantly runs the risk of being style over substance. The plot is about a woman named Virginia (Madison West) who is convinced she is cursed. In order to break the spell, she needs her brother Leo (Joey Millin) to take her on a cross-country trip. Certain she is on drugs, he agrees with the caveat that if there is nothing at their destination, she has to go to rehab. 

It all sounds normal enough. The premise is a great one that will obviously test sibling bonds, with trust being a running theme. Since it is a horror movie, it stands to reason that Threshold will include some dark secrets and scary moments. There is also plenty of room for suspense and tension. Where things differ is the movie was largely improvised and shot on two iPhones. 

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Threshold is a story of unfulfilled dreams. Leo gave up on his rock band while drugs ruined Virginia’s chance at being a lawyer. This sense of loss is also a part of their relationship. Though it has been years since they have seen each other, there was obviously a deep bond. As the two become reacquainted over the course of the film, it is clear they can reconnect.

It is the two main characters that will ultimately decide how much audiences enjoy the movie.. Since it was mostly improvised, there is very little structure to Threshold. The film is less slow burn horror and more mumblecore drama. The scares take a backseat and slowly build as the trip goes on. This also means that those looking for a tight horror movie will be disappointed. 

When scares are the highlight, they are some of the most effective parts of Threshold. It is a genuinely scary movie that will impress even the most jaded horror fan. The story does not traffic in cheap scares and earns every bit of fear it evokes. Many will also find it is an exercise in patience.

Threshold begins streaming on ARROW May 3

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