The finale to “Threshold,” a supernatural thriller about a junkie who figures she’s possessed, is a doozy — alarming, rattling and with a neat little twist that underlines its point.
And it’d have to be, considering the general snooze this siblings/bonding road picture has been pretty much in its entirety leading up to that. This may be the slowest-moving “road picture” or “thriller” on record.
It’s a classic “two hander” with Leo (Joey Millin), the older brother, driving cross-country with recovering addict Virginia (Madison West) chatting and reminiscing and every so often, seeing “evidence” that whoever it was that got Virginia “clean,” this “blood” ritual they put her through “bound” her to some random other guy.
She doesn’t use the word, but Leo figures “cult.” And her “evidence” for this supernatural “connection” is flimsy, and so flatly-played and subtle that maybe you’d have to be her brother to see anything remotely crazed, out-of-character and masculine in her mood swings.
He’s been sent West to fetch her, one more time, by her mother. He’s got his own issues, evidenced by the “just sign the papers” text message he gets from, we can assume, his wife.
Yeah, the parking garage of her apartment building is creepy. They all are. That random dude in a red cape who bolted past him in the hall? Nothing to see here.
And Virginia, writhing on the bed, convulsing badly enough for him to call the paramedics?
“Withdrawal,” he figures. Her abrupt recovery from that demanding food throws him a little. What’s the deal? Where are the needle marks?
“Honestly? I’m possessed.”
She’s in bad shape, or so she says. This guy “bonded” to her in that ceremony, “I can feel what HE feels.” And it’s alarming.
Leo promises to “find this guy” with her, going back to Cult Central to do it. What he tells their mom on the phone is that he’s “driving her to rehab.”
So a seventh-grade music teacher in his somehow mothballed, sticker-covered college Toyota and his pretty, rattled and mercurial-moods sister drive off into the sun…rise? All the locations are kind of vague, although we see snow-capped mountains and she buys pumpkins because “Halloween” and all that.
Because lots of us stop on road trips to carve jack-o-lanterns in roadside motels.
Virginia’s worried about having my head spin around, and crab-walking and s—.” Leo’s constantly trying to get across the idea that it’s “all in your head.”
Every now and then something a little out of the ordinary happens. But truthfully, it doesn’t happen often enough.
The “evidence” is scanty, the acting — with the characters abruptly returning to “normal” as if nothing has happened, as indeed little has, after each “incident” — is rather drab.
A funny “tell” of indie cinema of the past twenty years is how badly inexperienced actors are at smoking. Well, at least we’ve raised a generation that isn’t lighting up.
The picture is Toyota-paced and Toyota dull. An intriguing premise fritters away with each, long discourse about his college metal band and her shock that A) he’s married, B), he’s got a little girl, C) he’s divorcing and D), wait, “You married ‘Zamboni girl?”
And no, a mid-trip karaoke bar break is never a way to liven things up.
MPA Rating: unrated, violence, profanity
Cast: Joey Millin, Madison West
Credits: Directed by Powell Robinson, Patrick Robert Young, scripted by Patrick Robert Young
Running time: 1:18