Blu-ray Review: Threshold (2020)

June 27, 2021

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Beleaguered teacher Leo (Joey Millin) hates his job, is estranged from his sister Virginia (Madison West) and going through a divorce… but, at least one of those things is about to change as Leo’s mom calls to tell her he needs to pick his sister up as she’s made her dramatic reappearance.
Everything fails to come up Leo however, as his sister appears to be going through substance abuse withdrawal, though she claims this is the result of being bonded to a male member of some sort of coo-coo cult that performed a revoltin’ ritual to get her off drugs. I’m going to say she was probably better off high off her tits…
Leo of course thinks this a heapin’ helpin’ of complete festering bullshit, but he agrees to take Virginia to seek out the man, and hopefully end her ability to see and feel what he does (and vice versa) on the stipulation that she trots her ass straight to rehab if her story proves to be untrue.
Shot on iPhones and utilizing a tiny but talented cast (I mean, the cast is full-size and everything, this isn’t some sort of The Terror of Tiny Town type of scenario, I just meant there aren’t an abundance of characters in this flick… ), Powell Robinson and Patrick Robert Young’s Threshold is a case-study in getting maximum impact out of virtually nothing.
For the majority of the film, we are taken on a journey of siblings trying to reconnect… and Millin and West are absolutely rock solid performers who sell that bit of biz expertly (with mostly improvised dialog no less)… but of course that cult hoo-ha gives this a strong sinister undercurrent that festers and grows slow n’ steady through the narrative until we arrive at an absolute showstopper of a climax.
Speaking of that pace, some of you lot may not be into the pace of this picture as it is heavy on dialog, and short on actual action or full on scares, but the interactions between the siblings, their slowly strengthening relationship (forged through pumpkin carving, Eric Burdon-centric karaoke, and Ouija board usage), and their possible fate is never anything but fully compelling.
Also, it must be stated that although some my frown on the fact that this flick was shot on a phone (by Robinson who also pulled cinematographer duty) there is no shortage of beautiful, at times surreal and claustrophobic imagery on display here.
Not for nothing, I really enjoyed the synth-heavy score courtesy of composer Nick Chuba, which just increases the amount of “win” present with this one cats n’ creeps!
Speaking of “increasing” things, Arrow Video (along with MVD entertainment) increase the amount of enjoyment you can get from this Blu-ray release with a host of bonus material that kicks off with two audio commentaries (one featuring Robinson, Young, and editor William Ford-Conway, the other Robinson, Young, Millin, West, and producer Lauren Bates… both are solid listens), a truly excellent, feature-length “making of” documentary (followed by a quick look at the color correction process utilized by the filmmakers), and a duo of roundtable discussions on indie cinema featuring the filmmakers and actors (and other filmmakers as well) that aspiring low-budget filmmakers and actors simply can not miss.
Also included are the film’s score, the original script outline, the film’s teaser and trailer, and an image gallery.
Threshold is a fantastic example of what you can achieve without the bells n’ whistles of a bigger budget fright flick… a truly original, imaginative masterpiece of slow burn horror!

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