Film Scouts Reviews

"Dead Man's Curve"

by Richard Schwartz

Books from
Buy The Book.

Buy The Shooting Script.

One of the most common-spun urban legends on college campuses these days is known as the "dead man's curve" - any student whose roommate commits suicide can receive an automatic 4.0 grade point average. Nobody's really sure whether or not this policy is purely apocryphal, but it certainly can lead to some outlandish scenarios. Say, for instance, two roommates hoping to make the grade plot to kill their third roommate and pose it as a suicide, ensuring their acceptance into Harvard grad school. In fact, that's just the tale behind Dan Rosen's "Dead Man's Curve," a darkly comic thriller of double-cross and intrigue that succeeds thanks to snappy pacing and intelligent writing.

In his directorial debut, Rosen displays a knack for balancing the forces of comedy and thriller along the lines of "Scream." His writing - last seen on the screen with 1996's black comedy "The Last Supper" - is an even greater asset. The script doesn't dodder in laying the exposition groundwork; in fact, the entire plot is revealed in a bouncy opening credit sequence. Equally appreciated is Rosen's ability to create intense suspense while maintaining a light mood, peppering scenes with hip pop-culture references ("What would a suicidal person listen to?" "Lots of Suzanne Vega and the Smiths") and movie-buff in-jokes (one drinking-game scene spoofs the infamous game of Russian roulette from "The Deer Hunter.") Complementing the writing are the standout performances, most notably that turned in by amusing rubber-faced bad-boy Matthew Lillard, last seen as one-half of the "Scream" killing pair. Rosen, Lillard and company should help make "Dead Man's Curve" a sure-fire hit among the young adult set.

Back to 1998 Sundance Film Festival Reviews

Back to Dead Man's Curve

Back to the Press Room

Look for Search Tips

Copyright 1994-2008 Film Scouts LLC
Created, produced, and published by Film Scouts LLC
Film Scouts® is a registered trademark of Film Scouts LLC
All rights reserved.

Suggestions? Comments? Fill out our Feedback Form.