When a phone call from out of the blue brings Leo (Joey Millin) back into contact with his sister, Virginia (Madison West), long estranged from her family due to years of drug abuse, he arrives to find her alone in a bare apartment in the midst of an apparent overdose. After the convulsions and nausea subside, Virginia insists to Leo that she has been clean for 8 months due to the help of a mysterious group. She confides to her cynical brother that her edginess and paranoia actually stem from a sinister ritual conducted by the group that took her in at her lowest and eventually revealed themselves to be a cult. This curse bound her emotions and physical sensations to a man she has never met before. With his marriage on the rocks, Leo has his own demons to face. Nonetheless, he is reluctantly persuaded by Virginia to embark on a cross-country road trip to track down this shadowy stranger under the caveat that if he’s nowhere to be found and it’s all in her head, she’ll go to rehab. However, as their date with destiny draws nearer, Leo begins to suspect his sister’s tall tale might have some substance.

What We Thought:

I had never heard of the movie Threshold before watching it. It’s your classic indie film today with a few main characters, heavy on the dialogue and shot with technology that didn’t exist 20 years ago. It’s not groundbreaking work, but the two leads hold your attention and the ending is quite something.

It’s about a brother and sister reconnecting after a few years. The brother is married with a child. He thinks his sister is a junkie and picks her up to bring her to rehab. She insists she’s been sober for months, but tells him she is cursed. She was in sort of a cult who bonded her with another man and she feels everything he’s doing. The brother of course thinks she’s on drugs, but agrees he’ll help her find the man because she promises to go to rehab if she’s lying.

After we are introduced to them they go on a road trip. They have little adventures and he slowly starts to see some good in her and that maybe she is sober. He doesn’t know how much of her story he believes, but he at least believes something bad happened to her that she’s afraid of. From what I read most of the film was improvised. Their entire back & forth in the car, at hotels and on the road was just the two actors going with the scene. I don’t know if I know either actor, but both did their job well. He’s unhappy with life, going through a divorce, regretting giving up on music and he genuinely wants to help his sister. She has demons, but he can see her sobriety and they reconnect on the road. They carve pumpkins and just have a good time together as brother and sister.

Then the ending happens and wow that was something. She snaps at him at first because of the other guy bonded with her, but they get back together to find him. They do find him, but, well even I don’t know how to explain what I saw. The truth sort of comes out, but they also leave it ambiguous enough to not really explain what’s on screen. I’m sure some people will hate that, but I like open endings especially without much explanation.

Threshold is a film that will fly under the mainstream movie watcher radar. Even though indie films are much easier to shoot nowadays (this was shot with iPhones), finding an audience will always be the hardest part. With no big names in it most people will ignore it, but if you like indie films, real indie films, not Hollywood indies with named actors, give it a try. It’s just different enough to stand out and both leads are watchable.

Bonus Materials:

  • Brand new audio commentary with directors Powell Robinson & Patrick R. Young, producer Lauren Bates and lead actors Joey Millin and Madison West
  • Brand new audio commentary with directors Powell Robinson & Patrick R Young, and editor William Ford-Conway
  • Crossing the Threshold, a feature-length documentary on the making of Threshold
  • Elevating iPhone Footage: Color Correction Breakdown
  • Something from Nothing: Indie Genre Director Roundtable moderated by Scott Weinberg with directors Powell Robinson & Patrick R Young (Threshold), Brandon Espy (We Follow You), James Byrkit (Coherence), Zach Donohue (The Den) and Elle Callahan (Witch Hunt)
  • The Power of Indie Horror – Acting for Unconventional Film roundtable discussion moderated by Zena Dixon with the actors Madison West and Joey Millin (Threshold), Kelsey Griswold (Followed), Gabrielle Walsh and Ryan Shoos
  • The Sounds of Threshold original soundtrack
  • Threshold original outline script
  • Trailer and original teaser
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Coffee and Cigarettes
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Anton Bitel

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