More often than not when I have a movie to review, I don’t usually read the back cover or look for any sort of information about it. I rather go in blind and make up my own mind once I’ve seen it. The Curse of Downers Grove is one such movie where I probably should’ve read a little more about it. I went in expecting a horror film about a mysterious curse that is supposedly killing off one senior student each year around graduation time, instead I got a film about a girl who is almost raped, fights back and gets stalked by the would-be raper. It’s most certainly not a horror film, as the curse part of the title only really comes into play near the end and is instead pushed to the side to make room for the teen angst our main girl is going through. Does that mean it’s a bad film? Not at all, but it’s most certainly not the movie I was expecting and I have a feeling that the fans of the book this movie was based on are probably not going to like it either…
RUN-TIME: 89 min
ASPECT RATIO: 2.40:1
AUDIO: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
SUBTITLES: English, Spanish
PRODUCTION DATE: 2014
RELEASE DATE: Sept 1st, 2015
The town of Downers Grove looks like your average suburban neighborhood — but Downers Grove has a disturbing secret…. For the past eight years, one senior from every high school graduating class has met a bizarre death right before graduation day. And this year Chrissie Swanson (Bella Heathcote) has a terrible feeling that she is going to be the one to die. Can Chrissie survive the curse of Downers Grove or will she, like those seniors before her, fall prey to the town’s deadly secret?
As I quickly mentioned, The Curse of Downers Grove is actually based on a book by author Michael Hornburg. However, the movie’s screenplay was written by American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis, but from what I’ve heard, the movie is in no way as good as the book, but having not read the book, I can’t 100% say for sure whether it is or isn’t.
Every year a senior student is killed in some strange way, just mere days away from graduation. The people of Downers Grove call this the curse of Downers Grove (I know, not the most original name), all because the high school was built on an Indian burial ground, cause of course there was no more land available to use and nothing bad ever happens when you build something atop a burial ground. The movie has us following Chrissie (Bella Heathcote,) who doesn’t believe in the curse. She thinks we make up our own choices and if you do something stupid, something bad will happen. The stupid thing she does is go to a party and nearly get raped by the crazy Chuck, played by Kevin Zegers. Chuck has a few screws loose in his head and he snaps and starts turning Chrissie’s life a living hell. Meanwhile, Chrissie manages to find time to hook up with the local mechanic Bobby (Lucas Till); her best friend next door is obviously in love with her and is bad at hiding it; and her brother and best friend are planning a big party. What’s a girl to do?!? Wait, who’s that? Why it’s Tom Arnold, who shows up to play an abusive dad. Oh yeah, and the curse takes a back seat until the end of the film. Teen angst in overdrive!
I didn’t end up hating The Curse of Downers Grove. In fact, I thought it was pretty good, even though it’s clearly not the movie I thought it was going to be. Would I have loved to see a movie about a killer curse knocking off teenagers? Sure, who wouldn’t, but the movie I got instead still satisfied me and the ending had me nodding my head in appreciation for what they did. Plus, we get a righteous shotgun blast to the face effect that had me grinning. I’ve seen worse.
The Curse of Downers Grove is brought to you on Blu-ray from Anchor Bay and the video is looking a little high on the contrast side. The film looks like it has sharpening turned up to 11 in some scenes, but for the most part, the picture quality overall isn’t terrible, but it’s not the best looking Blu-ray on the block. The provided audio is Dolby TrueHD 5.1, with no noticeable problems. The only special feature is a short behind the scenes, which doesn’t show you much actual behind the scenes.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
– Behind the Scenes
I didn’t hate The Curse of Downers Grove, so that’s a good thing I suppose. I did expect something completely different than what I got and I’m thinking that’s going to also happen to a lot of people that check the movie out based on the name alone. Maybe if I read the book I might have had a better idea of what I was getting into, but ignoring all that, I enjoyed the film enough to recommend having you check it out. Maybe wait for a sale and pick it up, as the Blu-ray is light on features and that contrast issue is rather annoying.