DVD Review: Curio

PrintE-mail Written by Paul Mount


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I really don’t see enough bad films. But by God when I see a stinker I see one that really fouls up the atmos. Welcome to ‘Curio’, a film so clumsy and diabolical you really have to wonder why in the name of Bernard Cribbins anyone in their right mind would decide it was worth inflicting on the public. ‘Curio’ is easily the most shambolic, amateurish, appallingly-acted excuse for a horror movie I’ve ever had the ignominy of sitting through. Come with me as I tell you why you should only use this DVD as a pizza-cutter should you find a copy lying in the street, flung furiously out of the bedroom window of a bitterly-disappointed horror movie fan…

For the first two minutes or so ’Curio’ looks decent enough. An American girl named Lauren (Jennifer Bryer) and her half-English daughter Emily (Sydney Wade) are travelling across bleak Yorkshire countryside en route to the remote cottage left to them by some deceased relative. Warning signs begin to flash; Jennifer Bryer can’t act - I mean, she’s not just a bad actress, she quite literally Cannot Act. She’s outperformed at every turn by young Sydney Wade, despite the fact the tot’s dialogue and actions are way older than her character’s years right the way through this debacle of a movie. No sooner do this mismatched pair arrive at the cottage than they’re visited by a local busybody who turns out to be a fortune teller. Her attempt at predicting Lauren’s future (a few more terms at acting school, perhaps?) go a bit wrong when the old dear starts babbling demonically and promptly drops dead. Lauren unwisely head butts an investigating Police officer and she and her daughter go “on the run”. Suddenly there’s a gunshot and Lauren’s down but sadly not out. She wakes up tied to a bed and being nurse-maided by a clearly-psychopathic farmer named Len (Wayne Russell) who is himself terrorised and demeaned by his off-camera mother who has a voice like a Dalek with a sore throat.

 So far, so appalling. And ’Curio’ doesn’t get any better, it gets appreciably worse. The rest of the film actually makes precious little sense and its cause is hardly aided by the irrational and nonsensical behaviour of its characters. Lauren, having woken up in a stranger’s bed and told her daughter is safe somewhere, doesn’t seem in a great hurry to be reunited with her child. In fact, she barely even mentions her. She also fails to act on the several opportunities which arise to escape creepy Len’s attentions, preferring to play leisurely, unhurried cat-and-mouse psychological games with him rather than Get The Hell Out Of There and find her daughter.

I’ll not lie to you, dear reader, my attention wandered towards the end of the film - there was a squirrel running up the tree in my front garden or something - so I can’t really tell you how or if ‘Curio’ ends well for Lauren and her daughter and I really didn’t care enough to wind the disc back to find out. With absolutely nothing to recommend this film beyond a vaguely-interesting grubby sub-Norman Bates performance from Russell as Len and some suitably angry soundtrack music from Blur’s Graham Coxon (slumming it here like never before) ‘Curio’, with its cheap production values, clumsy direction (from New York-based  chancer Stephen Nesbitt) and iffy acting (did I mention the iffy acting?) is a cinematic disaster of almost Biblical proportions and I implore you not to touch this disc with the proverbial bargepole.

Bonus features: Interview with Graham Coxon, stills gallery

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‘Curio’ is released on DVD in the UK on 12th September. Form an orderly queue.


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