1996, R, 94 min. Directed by Reb Braddock. Starring Angela Jones, William Baldwin, Bruce Ramsay, Lois Chiles, Barry Corbin, Mel Gorham, Daisy Fuentes, Kelly Preston.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Oct. 11, 1996
Essentially a one-joke movie, Curdled began life as a 30-minute student film by Reb Braddock and John Maass, and though I haven't seen the original short, I suspect that the feature-length version has very little over the earlier work. Quentin Tarantino came aboard as the feature's executive producer, and brought with him Curdled's lead actress Angela Jones, whose first film role was that of the cabdriver in Pulp Fiction. The story is a black comedy about Gabriela (Jones), a beautiful young Miami resident who has an obsessive curiosity about murder. As luck would have it, she takes a job with Post Forensic Cleaning Service, a legitimate janitorial service that cleans up the bloody residue left behind at the crime scene. (It's tempting to say that the clean-up business is an homage to Harvey Keitel's work in Pulp Fiction, but such services have actually come to exist in real life.) At home, she keeps a morbid scrapbook of newspaper clippings about murders, and her current binder-buster is a serial murderer called the Blue Blood Killer (Baldwin). In the movie's final half-hour, the two come face to face. Curdled's set-up is actually kind of intriguing and Angela Jones is quite appealing to watch. Unfortunately, the character of Gabriela is never developed beyond its one-dimensional premise. The child-like pleasure she derives from her morbid preoccupations -- a fascination that practically begs deeper analysis -- is presented at little more than face value. A preamble to the movie shows Gabriela as a young girl in Colombia who witnesses a murder and is drawn ineluctably to the corpse, but the scene is hardly sufficient explanation for a lifetime of pathology. As the serial killer, Baldwin's performance is all one-note, and a not-very-interesting note at that. The closing shot of the movie allows you to leave the theatre remembering its genuinely humorous kick, but the uneventful hour-and-a-half-long build-up makes it hardly worth the wait.