The Curve (1998)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

The Curve is a decently twisty thriller whose title is both a reference to the academic grading curve and an indicator that the plot will toss a lot of curveballs. In part because of the presence of typecast schemer Matthew Lillard, who's gleefully at home in double-crossing revenge fantasies set in the college environment, The Curve sometimes recalls Scream, but without the sense of fun and self-aware parody. In fact, the level of spite and ill will is so high that it's really not much fun at all. There's something disturbing about the callousness with which these characters attempt to ruin one another, making the whole thing seem a little exaggerated. It also has the off-putting self-congratulatory feel of a movie too proud of its incisive ambitions. Still, it's hard to deny that there's style to its dark tone and serpentine plot developments, and probably some accuracy to the mean spirit of college students jealous of each other's achievements. After its Sundance screening, The Curve went straight to video, where its cast of up-and-comers -- including Keri Russell, who had made a splash as the star of TV's Felicity by this point -- earned the film an appreciative cult following.