Movie Review: The Curse of Downers Grove (2015)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2015 thriller/drama starring Bella Heathcote and Lucas Till.

Synopsis: High school students in the city of Downers Grove, Illinois believe their school is cursed because a student dies just before graduation every year. However, one senior, Chrissie, doesn't have time to worry about that because she's too worried about a college quarterback who is stalking her after attempting to rape her.


My wife and I recorded this film when it was on one of our movie channels a short while ago because, at least from the description, it sounded as though it would be a halfway creepy thriller. We finally got around to watching it last night and, after doing so, I do have to say my feelings about it were somewhat mixed.

The movie, to be fair, actually isn't all that terrible. In fact, at least as a psychological drama/thriller, it did have some things going for it. The movie's main plot, which consisted of a high school senior (Heathcote) being stalked by a college football star (Kevin Zegers) she blinded while trying to escape his attempt to rape her, was intriguing, especially as he grew increasingly violent toward her and her friends.

I also thought some of the supporting characters were interesting. This is especially true of her next door neighbor and friend, Ian (Young), who, while friendly toward her, also seemed to be a bit off to the point I couldn't help but wonder if he would eventually have a larger role in all of the events.

My biggest problem with this movie is the title and description of the film are very misleading. My wife and I began watching this with the assumption the bulk of the movie would be about a somewhat intriguing curse and figured the film would focus on that, its causes and its potential victim. The fact the curse ended up being in the background of the film and was only casually mentioned throughout, until the very end, made it an almost pointless addition because it didn't add anything of substance to the plot.

I also wasn't crazy about the ending, partly because it wasn't as unpredictable as I think the writers intended it to be and because it really was one of those endings that could have used a little more build-up throughout the film. Let's just say the character that was involved with the ending really wasn't utilized in a way he could have been utilized.

Final Opinion

It was an OK movie but, had the writers spent a bit more time on the curse mentioned in the title, I think it could have been much more memorable. As filmed, it is just good, not great.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 09/26/2016, StevenHelmer
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