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Review: 'The Curse of Styria'

October 25, 2013 7:52 a.m.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando reviews "The Curse of Styria" at the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival.

Related Story: Review: 'The Curse Of Styria'


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ANCHOR INTRO: Last October KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando highlighted a Kickstarter campaign by two SDSU grads to raise $25,000 for post-production costs on their indie film. Now San Diego audiences will get a sneak peek of “The Curse of Styria” Sunday night at the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival.

It’s 1989, and a troubled teen named Lara accompanies her historian father across the Iron Curtain to an old abandoned castle. A corrupt general does his best to shake down the father and shake up the daughter.

CLIP This place makes people nervous, the stories they tell, vile acts of every kind. You haven’t seen nothing strange, with those lovely blue eyes, another pretty stranger perhaps.

Lara has seen a pretty stranger, a mysterious woman who suggests that the history of the place itself is wrapped up in the personal secrets of Lara’s family.

CLIP In olden days when someone was sick, they would take them to someone who would bleed them with a razor that would get rid of the bad blood that made them ill. Maybe you just have some bad blood… I understand the desire to have control power over something. They try to possess us, break us, those who don’t resist learn to live with the misery for the rest of their broken lives.

A creepy castle, hostile locals, strange stories about past… these are the perfect elements for a seductive and atmospheric movie. Written and directed by Maurico Chernovetsky and Mark Devendorf, “The Curse of Styria” serves up old school gothic horror with an emphasis on mood over explicit gore, and story over outright scares. Shot in Hungary, the film boasts the ominous lushness of a fever dream. “The Curse of Styria” screens Sunday night at the Digital Gym Cinema and it marks a promising debut for these young SDSU grads.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.