June 5, 2019 Threshold (Movie Review)
A grieving couple find themselves struggling to survive one apocalyptic evening in the brand-new, Sci-Fi/Horror offering Threshold. Distribution Solutions/Alliance Entertainment and Archstone Distribution deliver the film to Digital and VOD on Tuesday, June 11th, 2019.
Married for three years, loving couple Cynthia (Trilby Glover: Righteous Kill 2008, Scream Queens series) and Aaron (Randy Wayne: Honey 2 2011, Escape Room 2017) have decided to foster a young boy, though one night a series of unfortunate events leads to tragedy. As they each search helplessly for answers, Cynthia turns toward a book group—led by the hippie Dagan (Graham Sibley: Zombie Honeymoon 2004, Sully 2016) and a New Age lifestyle, while Aaron finds himself trapped at the bottom of a bottle.
This will all change, however, on one apocalyptic evening. With the arrival of an otherworldly stranger (Leslie Stevens: True Blood series, Troubled Child 2012), the bitterly divided couple will be forced to make some very important decisions about who to trust in order to survive. Can they unravel the mystery of the woman and her appearance together, or will their bitter past continue to divide them? Perhaps, most importantly, is this the end of the world or merely the demise of their relationship?
Clocking in at 102 minutes, Threshold was written and directed by Jason Eric Perlman (How’s My Driving? short 2004, Parasite short 2009), and serves as this talented filmmaker’s feature-length debut. It also features the acting talents of the adorable Nicholas Oteri (Circus short 2015, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children 2016), Rich Paul (Godzilla 2014, Age of the Living Dead series), Courtney Daniels (The Girl in the Book 2015, Rescue Dogs 2016), Derek Magyar (NCIS series, Boy Culture series), and Frank the Pug.
Billed as a blend of Sci-Fi and Horror, Threshold is an amalgamation of genres that includes elements of Sci-Fi, Mystery, Drama, Thriller, and, alright, a tiny smidgeon of Horror (namely its home invasion scenario). Basically put, the story here is a Dramatic Thriller that takes place on an apocalyptic evening with an otherworldly stranger. Who is she and where is she from? How does she know so much about the couple and their son? These are the important questions, adding a clear element of mystery.
All of this said, Threshold is a beautifully shot film thanks to the cinematography of Brian Outland (The Last Long Weekend short 2012, Eric & Allie short 2014). While it looks phenomenal, the multi-layered story is one that is likely to bespell some while putting others to sleep. Which is not to suggest that it’s bad or boring, no: it is merely a journey that only some will appreciate at its conclusion. Admittedly, the film never entirely overstays its welcome, though its run time could easily be culled by 10-15 minutes to make for a more enjoyable experience.
The cast here, led by Glover and Wayne, do a remarkable job in their roles. As Cynthia, Glover effectively communicates the emotional nature of losing a child and grieving his loss, all while beginning to search for the answers to much greater questions; she opens herself to the universe with desperate hope in her heart. Wayne’s Aaron serves as her perfect foil: his loss has made him angry, and he has evolved from doting father to bitter being. Their character development is wonderful, and while they are contrasting opposites, they are both likable and relatable. In this, they are each sympathetic characters that represent the opposing sides of grief.
It is Stevens’ character who creates the mountain that the couple must climb together. As her purpose is not entirely clear and her arrival is mysterious in and of itself—not to mention she is completely naked—Stevens’ is left to author her performance with severe minimalism. However, she does an excellent job of being suitably unnerving enough to appear not entirely trustworthy, all while remaining seemingly non-threatening. It is a careful line to tread, one that is of great importance to this story: it is Stevens’ ability to balance these conflicting scenarios that makes both Cynthia and Aaron’s reactions to her appearance believable.
Because it’s never abundantly obvious what will happen next, the tension runs thick throughout the film. Though, at its core, Threshold is a story about faith and love. What you take away from the experience will depend upon what you bring into your viewing, and how open you are to the story’s deeper layers. For some, Threshold will amount to little more than an unsatisfactory home invasion flick, while for others it will be a multi-layered tale of loss, faith, and redemption. It is an enjoyable watch and a great foretelling of Perlman’s bright future, and that is why Cryptic Rock give Threshold 4 out of 5 stars.