Threshold – Technically Impressive but lacking depth.

Threshold is showing on Arrow now

Do you have that one sibling who always seems to be spiralling? If you do, you will know how you feel responsible for them. Your role in ensuring they don’t end up hurting themselves or, worse, others, paramount. But, this role does not come without a price. Your time-consuming dedication held in return for their continued appreciation of you. Well, if you throw into this mix the fact that this sibling may be cursed, you have Threshold.

Technically speaking, Threshold is very impressive because there are so many constraints on the filmmaking process. For example, it’s shot on a tiny budget of less than $15,000 with a crew of just three people. Meanwhile, the camera’s are iPhones! And screenplay almost entirely improvised. And let’s face it, just one of these challenges would put off many filmmakers. Therefore, the fact that Patrick R. Young and Rowell Robinson produced a watchable film with a clear story is commendable in itself, which feels strange to say, but once you know the context, it makes more sense. In fact, I am particularly looking forward to their feature-length documentary on making Threshold, entitled Crossing the Threshold—the idea of matching their feature with a documentary a brilliant move on the part of both directors. 

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The cinematography has a lot to offer, with some kinetic dynamism peppered throughout the runtime, alongside some eerily slow and paralysing focuses that emphasise the sinister, paranoid mental state of Virginia. It’s hard to believe the film was shot on iPhone, which is far more a testament to the directors than Apple. After all, it’s one thing to film on an iPhone, but knowing how to make that footage look fantastic is where the real skill lies.  

However, while impressive, the final feature is a mixed bag of results. While the conversations between brother/sister duo Virginia (Madison West) and Leo (Joey Millin) feel authentic, constantly developing their characters, the improvised dialogue does reveal itself at times. However, their relationship feels rich in their complicated connection, and the pair feels like a troubled brother-and-sister. The characterisation of the pair constructed carefully and with thought as to their strengths and weaknesses.

Leo’s nature as the protective big brother is restricted by his inability to protect himself, his own life slightly haywire. Coupled with this is the meandering nature of their road trip – the result, a movie that doesn’t get going until the 50-minute mark. And while the directors emphasise the brother-sister relationship as the key to the story. The curse itself feels lacking. The backstory of Virginia a very peculiar mystery that could’ve been gradually picked at rather than suddenly bookended at the very end. 

Ultimately, Threshold didn’t necessarily grab me from a narrative standpoint – but did from a technical one. The latter leading me to marvel at what Young and Robinson were able to achieve. And despite the frustrations Threshold raises, I’m looking forward to seeing what the pair do next.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


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