Woman-in-jeopardy thrillers have long been a popular staple of cinema. The terror the audience experiences while watching a vulnerable woman suffer through a horrible situation — "Wait Until Dark," "Alien," "High Tension," Emma Thompson in "Junior" — provides just the kind of visceral (and often perverse) pleasure we want from the movies.More from Jay A. Fernandez in The LA Times.
Since these suspenseful films are almost uniformly written by men, though, the scenarios tend to play out as fantasies of either the malicious male subconscious or a romanticized version of a besieged woman's fortitude under extreme duress. Screenwriter Kimberly Lofstrom Johnson hopes to challenge this convention with her recent addition to the genre, "Curve." Her script doesn't veer from the genre's essential plot elements but lurches through a stripped-down narrative invested with both a specifically feminine mind-set and a harrowing, if unintended, subtext.