“ Genre: Horror / Theatrical Release: 2005 / Director: Wes Craven / Actors: Christina Ricci, Joshua Jackson ... / DVD released 22 August, 2005 at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainm / Features of the DVD: Dubbed, PAL, Widescreen „
RELEASED: 2005, Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 97 mins
DIRECTOR: Wes Craven
PRODUCERS: Marianne Maddalena & Kevin Williamson
SCREENPLAY: Kevin Williamson
MUSIC: Marco Beltrami
Jesse Eisenberg as Jimmy Myers
Christina Ricci as Ellie Myers
Joshua Jackson as Jake Taylor
Judy Greer as Joanie
Milo Ventimiglia as Bo
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Cursed opens with two girls at a fairground. One of them, just for fun, tries to persuade a fortune teller to inform her friend that her boyfriend is rubbish. However, the fortune teller has other ideas, giving both girls a serious and stern warning that she sees blood, and that the girls both are in grave danger.
The story then moves on to brother and sister Jimmy and Ellie, who whilst driving home, hit an animal, and it causes a major crash with another vehicle. Jimmy and Ellie are OK, but the other car topples down a grassy bank. They go down to help the driver after having called the emergency services on their mobile, and try to free the woman who is trapped upside down in her car. Whilst Jimmy and Ellie are hauling the woman from the car, a strange beast attacks them, dragging the injured woman away. Jimmy and Ellie both suffer scratches from the creature, but are able to make their escape back to the road.
When the police arrive, Jimmy tries to tell them that a werewolf had attacked them and killed the woman driver of the overturned car. Of course, he isn't believed.
As Jimmy's and Ellie's lives get back to normal, it becomes evident that they have both been cursed with the line of the werewolf.
Cursed starts off quite well, with a good atmosphere being set straight away. However, I found the first part of the music used rather irritating, as it was far too loud. As the film continued, some of the other music used isn't too bad at all, but for the most part it almost drowned out some of the dialogue.
Even though from the outset I could tell that this was going to be a pretty silly film, something kept me watching, as the storyline is well presented. However, it gets dafter and dafter as it goes on, building up to a huge crescendo of madness which is way, way over the top.
The quality of the special effects is a mixed bag, with some of them being fairly clever, yet others - bearing in mind the advanced technology which was available when this film was made - are rather crude and amateurish.
The acting too is very uneven, with a very good performance from Jesse Eisenberg as Jimmy Myers, and Christina Ricci as his sister Ellie being passable, but I couldn't get it out of my head that she resembled Mabel Lucy Atwell (you have to be really old to know who I'm talking about!!). Various other characters in the film were portrayed quite badly, with Judy Greer's role of jealous Joanie coming across as totally ludicrous. My favourite character in the whole film was Zipper, a beautiful dog, and I hope he was given lots of nose-rubs and doggie treats for his performance.
During the course of the film, a few smiles crept across my face here and there, finding some of it a little amusing - and, I'm not sure if the director/producers/screenplay writer intended any humour to be present. It wasn't the horror elements which hit my funny spot....it was some of the things people were saying to one another. If Cursed was in fact intended to have a comedy element to it, then that's one part of the film which was really on the ball.
Returning to the special effects....the first of them did make me jump out of my skin, but those which followed were of mixed quality. The results of the scenes of violence were very well put together, but I was unhappy with those involving the werewolf elements. I still think that the very best werewolf film ever made is An American Werewolf In London, and Cursed didn't come even close in the department of special effects.
I am a little concerned that this film has been issued with a 15 certificate, because although it is obviously not to be taken seriously, there is quite a lot of violence, especially towards the end....and, this violence is rather graphic. If the decision of the film's censorship rating were left to me, I'd slam an 18 onto it.
All in all, Cursed is one of these films which is truly trashy, despite some parts of it being fairly well put together, but I can honestly and unashamedly say that I did enjoy it, although it's not something I'd want to see again. It did keep me suitably entertained for 97 or so minutes, and kept me out of mischief. As for the scare-factor, such is low, unless you have a werewolf phobia...in that case, I'd suggest watching it through slitted eyes, or pressing the eject button. I quite liked it though, and would recommend it to anybody who likes trash of the variety which also manages to be entertaining. For those who do decide they'd like to watch this film, I recommend lowering the sound levels towards the end, otherwise your eardrums will be blasted across the universe and back.
In summary and overall, Cursed is a way over the top, but slightly amusing, definitely ridiculous piece of throwaway entertainment which isn't as bad as I first thought it would be.
At the time of writing, Cursed can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £1.74 to £13.99
Used: from 1p to £1.00
Some items on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
This 2005 Wes Craven film was something I was really looking forward to watching. My wife and I love werewolf and vampire flicks, and as this was a werewolf attempt, it looked like something that we could really get are teeth into, and although I feel that Wes Craven has been on a slow decline over the years, as he has done some pretty impressive stuff over his career, you kind of always have to at least give his work a go.
What we made of the film was not negative of positive, or maybe I would be better off actually saying it was a bit of both really.
The films start with two young girls that have just had their fortune read and have been told that they are going to die.
Later we are introduced to brother and sister, Jimmy and Ellie, played by Jesse Eisenberg and Christina Ricci. Whilst driving home they hit an animal and have an accident with another car. Whilst trying to help the other driver, Jimmy and Ellie are attacked and hurt by the animal and the other driver is dragged off screaming (we realise here that the other driver is one of the girls from earlier).
After recovering from their crash and animal attack, Jimmy and Ellie begin acting strangely and find they are developing more acute senses than they ever had before, they also have a taste for raw meat too!
It's not long before Jimmy starts to believe they were attacked by a werewolf and realises they are changing. Even worse than this, things begin to get stranger as revelations begin to unfold about various different people all around them, good and bad revelations and also an agenda hidden beneath everything.
Did I like this film?????????? I have to say that I think I did!
It's not an action packed, scary, deep plotted story, like what you would maybe expect from a werewolf tale. But what it is, is an enjoyable, quite well acted, humorous take on a typically dark tale of creature horror, which has pretty decent special effects.
Don't get me wrong, the story line is very cheesy and is almost completely predictable, but it somehow managed to hold my attention and make me think "Yeah.......that weren't that bad".
I think the biggest problem I had going into this was the actors, or should I say, two certain actors. I don't think it will matter how many films they make or how successful they become, I will always think of the Addams Family every time I look at Christina Ricci (little Wednesday Addams) and will always think of Dawsons Creek whenever I see Joshua Jackson, although lately, Joshua Jackson has been changing my mind a bit about his acting after making a few decent films and appearing in Fringe.
As for Cristina Ricci, although she has become a highly rated actress and has done some pretty deep films, to me she still looks like she did when she did the Addams Family (think that one will stick with her forever).
The acting by all in this was done to a pretty good standard. My favourite character in this was Jimmy - Jesse Eisenberg, he played his part really well and brought nearly all of the humour and jokes throughout, and he was also nearly always there for most of the action scenes. He seems to have this ability to make the viewer want to find out what he's going to say next, or to make us want to know what his next face expression is going to be.
He plays his role perfectly, portraying the skinny, kind of a loser kid, who gets almost super powers and takes full advantage of enjoyable them to there fullest (something we would all love to do). Sometimes actors can take these sorts of roles too far, really hamming them up, and although Eisenberg does give it a bit too much sometimes, he kind of pulls it off.
I think he will be one to keep an eye on for the future, especially after going on to make great films like Adventure Land and Zombieland after this one.
Joshua Jackson was surprisingly good in this, losing his typical, silly boy wannabe hero persona and going for a more serious, deeper and darker way of acting. I'm wondering if, even though this film wasn't a massive success, if it was his acting ability playing this darker character, that led to him getting roles with more depth, in films like Shutter and the TV series Fringe.
Christina Ricci, well, although I can't shake the whole Addams family thing, I think she didn't do a bad job here. I've recently seen her in stronger plot based films such as Monster (where she showed some real acting ability) and have to say that although she wasn't able to bring that particular ability to this, with the limited script and story they were all given, she did a pretty good job. The only thing I found with her character that annoyed me was that she was so miserable so much of the time, and almost permanently wore a frown! This was acceptable for a fair bit of the story but it was as if the old wives tale of, if the wind blows your face will stay like that, came into effect during production.
The special effects throughout were not the greatest I've ever seen, but they do stand up to a lot of other creature feature attempts out there, and the acting/special effects that come into play during slight changes in the characters as they go from human to human/part creature are pretty blooming good, better than I expected.
Although I've said that there isn't a brilliant deep plot within this film, the story they do play with is more than acceptable for the type of film that it is (simple, werewolf entertainment). There are a few twists, some that maybe you won't see coming, and there is a lot of effort put into trying to throw you off track when you think you know what's going on (this might work, or might not, depends on the viewer). There are even some deep emotional moments throughout, especially between the brother and sister (I'm not saying this happens a lot, lol) but there is some!
All in all, I actually enjoyed this and thought that it did a good job of using werewolves to produce a story that I believe is always done by typical vampire films (watch it and you will see what I mean, don't want to give anything away).
Usually werewolf films show us brutal creatures that think of nothing other than killing and eating, with no real proper change in their desires even when in human form. This however shows us a different side to what werewolves think about and desire in life.
I won't say this is a masterpiece and will go on to be a loving edition to everybody's DVD collection, and it certainly isn't a scary werewolf horror like the cult classic 'A Werewolf in London' but I will say that it is certainly worth a watch, and you never know, you may actually enjoy what they've tried to do.
The film runs for an easy 93 minutes and the DVD can be picked up in most places for around £2.99.
The special features are nothing to write home about, but could be considered interesting if you like seeing how the special effects and makeup are achieved.
Orphaned brother and sister, Jimmy and Ellie, are involved in a car accident. On trying to help the driver of the other car, they witness her being dragged away by some kind of animal. Even worse, they both receive scratches from said animal, which, Jimmy later finds out, is likely to be a werewolf. Both of them start going through some strange alterations; even worse, it appears that people involved with them are also affected. In order to get their lives back to normal, they must track down and kill the werewolf. But just who is the werewolf in his or her everyday guise? And even if they do find out who it is, will they be able to do anything about it?
The fact that this film is directed by Wes Craven was an immediate draw - I've enjoyed most of his films on one level or another. I'm also not averse to the odd film about werewolves. Unfortunately, this 2005 film has a lot of plot flaws. It isn't a terrible film, but I'm certainly not surprised that I haven't heard of it before. Starring Christina Ricci as Ellie, it also has a host of famous actors that appear at one point or another - Portia di Rossi, Shannon Elizabeth and Scott Baio particularly stand out. Fans of Bowling for Soup will be pleased to get a glimpse of the band in concert at the beginning of the film. Unfortunately, famous names do not make a good film and that is certainly the case here.
Christina Ricci is an odd little actress. She can be superb - her role in Monster, for example, is brilliant. She can also be very mediocre (as far as I'm concerned, in Penelope). Here, she is convincing enough as Ellie, who plays a young girl totally freaked out by what is happening to her. I just wasn't overly impressed by her either. That isn't, however, all her fault - I think that the way the film was written didn't give her all that much scope. Much better is her brother, Jimmy, who is played by Jessie Eisenberg (who I'm looking forward to seeing in Zombieland). He is slightly geeky to look at, reminding me of British presenter Simon Amstell, but is also very funny with it and I quickly developed an affinity with him that I didn't with his on-screen sister.
The rest of the roles are a bit of a hotch potch of appearances. Joshua Jackson plays Jake, who is Ellie's love interest and is supposed to have a major role in the film, but becomes buried amongst everything else that is going on. Portia di Rossi is a fortune teller who completely overdoes her role. I think she's trying to be funny, but it just doesn't work and ends up being nothing but painful to watch. Then there's Scott Baio, who plays himself at a function Ellie is helping to organise. It was great to see him, but I didn't understand the point of his character - it didn't really add anything to the story. And unfortunately, that is the case with nearly every other character. There are very few, probably just two others, that actually contribute anything at all to the story - it's as if they're there just to make up the numbers.
The story isn't a terrible one. It starts out well, although it is a little confusing with the appearance of Portia di Rossi's character and a couple of other girls who don't really have much to do with the rest of the film. However, the story never really seems to take off after that. It didn't bore me in any way, but I wasn't gripped by it either. As it is directed by Wes Craven, I did expect to have a few scares here and there, but they just didn't come. And the ending, which is really in two parts, is terribly over the top. I think that Craven is trying to make it entertaining and funny, but to be honest, he doesn't quite pull it off, and I was left feeling that the film fell flat - the humour that Scream has, for example, just doesn't exist here.
In any film about werewolves and the like, special effects are obviously going to be very important. And when considering that the film was made in 2005, I was expecting the effects to be top notch. Unfortunately, they aren't. The werewolf is just not very realistic - it's usually a man in a suit, interspered with computer generated bits. And the transformation scenes aren't very convincing either. Having watched the extras that come with the DVD, it is apparent that the aim was to make a film that was reminiscent of films such as An American Werewolf in London and Teen Wolf. Fair enough, but I still don't think that's an excuse to have such poor special effects. It just didn't work for me and I was left feeling disappointed.
Obviously, the film is of the horror genre, and is not going to be suitable for young children. However, it is a 15, which is perhaps a little over-generous - I think 12 year olds will handle it perfectly well, especially if it's a special Halloween treat, just because the special effects aren't all that realistic. Parents will want to judge for themselves though. There is a dog who is infected by the werewolf and although nothing really bad happens to him, I can imagine that some children would be more distressed by this than the fact that human beings are dying!
There are a few extras with the DVD. The making of documentary is interesting, if a little short. Then there's a feature on the special effects, which made me feel a little bad that I've been so critical - there was obviously a great deal of work that went into them. Then there's a feature called 'creature editing 101', which is about the computer generated parts of the film. Finally, there's a brief feature on becoming a werewolf - the actual transformation bit by the make-up people. It's introduced by Jesse Eisenberg, which is the best bit about it. If special effects are your thing, you'll probably find the extras worth watching.
Werewolf films aren't really expected to be taken seriously, so perhaps I'm being over critical of this film. Nevertheless, I just don't think it worked all that well. It isn't funny enough to be a comedy and it isn't scary enough to be a good horror. It isn't terrible though either, so if anyone manages to get hold of a copy around Halloween, it is probably worth a quick watch, so long as expectations aren't too high and you don't take your horror films too seriously. Three stars out of five.
The DVD is available from play.com for £5.99.
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by Wes Craven, previously responsible for such hit movies as The Nightmare On Elm Street series, the Scream trilogy and '80's b-movie Shocker, Cursed is a modern take on the traditional werewolf mythos- attempting to update it to the present day with this tale involving a pair of siblings caught up in the Hollywood lifestyle who fall foul of a lycanthrope attack.
Pretty much unaminously slammed upon it's release, I nonetheless saw this advertised on telly the other night and foolishly decided to give it a go. The whole Werewolf idea is often a bit hit and miss and while there have been some great examples of this genre over the years (An American Werewolf In London, Ginger Snaps) there have also been some pretty lame ones too (Silver Bullet based on the Stephen King novella and Ginger Snaps Back). Still Wes Craven has always had a good reputation and even the last few Nightmares whilst bordering on getting a bit silly, were still worth a watch. Not this pile of toss though....
This is one of the few films I've seen where I could not sit through until the end! Joshua "Pacey" Jackson from Dawson's Creek hams it up whilst Christina "Sleepy Hollow" Ricci almost appears to sleepwalk through her role. This reminded me so much of the Scary Movie series at times (except without the obvious puns and gags and certainly without any laughs) that I could not believe it was trying to take itself so seriously! Some people have said it's just a bit of light-hearted fun and not meant to be taken seriously but this is the problem this movie seems to exhibit: for most of it's duration, it is not sure whether it wants to be a horror or a comedy and so, ultimately, fails on both accounts!
The basic premise is thus; Ellie and her brother, Jimmy, are involved in a car accident and, in trying to rescue the other driver, are attacked by a giant wolf. Jimmy begins to investigate other rare sightings of wolves around L.A and becomes convinced by a conspiracy website that the pair have been bitten by a werewolf. Strange behaviour exhibited by the two siblings seems to back this up and before long, the pair are forced to face the fact that they have become victims of an ancient curse that has been around for a very long time...
All the standard horror cliches are here from the false fright (Ricci gets up in the middle of the night, finds the door open, there's someone in the house, he's behind you...oh, it's just her boyfriend) to the usual family-pet-acting-a-bit-crazy-whenever-the-pair-are-near storyline and not one of the actors involved in this shambles even attempts to be convincing! In fact Craven would have been far better casting unknowns as everyone in this seems to think they are so much better than this crummy film which they are, don't get me wrong, but it would've been nice if any of them might possibly have acted like they gave a shite whether this movie sailed or bombed. I really got the impression here that certain people agreed to appear either as a favour or because they saw it as a cash-in! Either way, it doesn't do their professional reputations any good at all....
My only consolation, this didn't cost me any money outside my license fee because if I had paid money to see this I would be demanding a refund off Craven for burgling my time! Honestly do yourself a favour and avoid this stinking pile of dross!
From The Wolf Man to An American Werewolf in London, and even the Ginger Snaps trilogy, I've always been a big fan of werewolf films - until now that is. Set in Los Angeles, the plot for Cursed while not completely original is good enough. It tells of two orphaned siblings, who get bitten by a werewolf after being in a car accident, after which both siblings begin to show alarming behaviour that can only mean one thing. Unfortunately Cursed is unable to successfully build on this otherwise good start.
Werewolf and horror fans alike will probably be very disappointed with the rather tame levels of gore, and the disappointingly poor CGI werewolf, which really didn't work for me. The structure of Cursed seems to be jumbled up with the story seeming a bit incoherence at times, and expect plenty of loose ends to be left unanswered. Even with this, it's still quite predictable at times and doesn't offer much in terms of twists or turns. Cursed is comical in places and in all honestly seems like a film that's not meant to be took that seriously. It lacks depth and power, that special spark that some films have and some don't.
It's not a complete train crash of a film and we are saved (for want of a better word) by some good acting from Christina Ricci. There are a couple of good scenes of suspense that have that Wes Craven hallmark. Plus a few scenes which are genuinely scary. And the sound track throughout is pretty good.
But overall nothing remotely special about Cursed, it watchable - just, but is let down too many times by too many things. Therefore there's not much reason for me to recommend it to you. If your looking for a werewolf film try the films I mentioned above instead.
(I'm a reviewer on Amazon, and some my reviews are copied from there to dooyoo. Please feel free to check out my Amazon profile under my real name of Mr Andrew M Kerr.)
Cursed is quite a amusing werewolf story,its about a brother and sister who come across a car crash,two girls are trapped inside and they both work hard to get them out but the girls are grabbed buy something and dragged off and in the process of trying to save them both siblings are bitten.Its not long before they start displaying strange behavior,and need to find out what or who did this to them.
I quite enjoyed this movies but there again i like werewolf films ,it has a great cast of Joshua jackson and Christina ricci, and is very funny through out,the werewolf effects are ok but dont top american werewolf in paris,i can recomend this to people who have liked the american werewolf films or ginger snaps to sum it up its not about to win alot of awards but its not to bad either, its probably one of the more up to date werewolf films around so might be worth giving it a try.
From the master of horror comes 'Cursed'. Wes Craven brought us 'The Hills Have Eyes' in 1977, 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' in 1984, the 'Scream' series in the 90s, and then in 2005 his directorial talent welcomed 'Cursed' to the world. Before watching this film I was greatly excited, I'm a huge fan of Wes Craven and love all his previous films I have mentioned here. He's a great director, an expert in the creation of tension and suspense. As 'Cursed' began I started to think he'd done it again. The opening is powerful, it gripped me, and then the film unfolds.
Set in Los Angeles, Ellie and her brother Jimmy are driving home one evening when an animal unexpectedly smashes against the windscreen. They swerve and crash into another car, knocking it off the road in the process. It's a scary situation for them and they pull over, walking across to the car that they glanced to check that everybody is okay. The car has overturned and is on its roof, a female passenger is alive and well but is still strapped in with her seatbelt and is understandably panicking. Jimmy helps her out and gets her seatbelt undone, but it is then that a werewolf takes hold of her body and begins to drag her away. Jimmy grabs onto her and is swiped by the werewolf creature in the process, his sister Ellie grabs on to him also and the three of them are dragged through bushes by this mysterious creature of the night. Admitting defeat and letting go, Jimmy and Ellie return home where Jimmy begins to research on the internet about werewolves. The next day they discover that the girl has been killed and so the film really begins to get going as the pair seek to discover what has happened to them and what shall become of their future.
What starts out as an interesting concept for a horror film soon becomes tiresome, the film begins brilliantly and I thought that 'Cursed' would turn out to be an excellent choice; sadly this was not to be so and it is in fact just one huge disappointment. In the 90s (and stretching into 2000 with the last in the trilogy), the 'Scream' films were greatly effective in parodying the horror genre and yet still remaining scary. I thought that 'Cursed' would be similarly as impressive and yet at every turn it just seems to disappoint. It runs like a bad B-Movie, it seems so tacky and low budget and yet this monstrosity of a film actually cost a cool $38 million. All I can say of this is what a waste of money! No way did they need a budget as large as this to come up with 'Cursed', in fact I really wish they hadn't come up with the film at all. It was an absolute waste of 90 minutes of my life; an hour and a half that I'll sadly never be able to get back.
Containing lines such as 'Fair fight? This is Hollywood!', this is obviously a film that is extremely self aware and yet this is simply not enough to explain why 'Cursed' is such an awful film. When films are self aware they tend to be vaguely humorous and yet 'Cursed' just isn't. A while back I watched the horror satire 'Jack Frost' and thought that was bad, but when I compare it to 'Cursed' I start to think that it wasn't so bad after all. This film seems tongue-in-cheek in part, and yet for the majority of the film you get the distinct impression that things are being taken a little too seriously and the film just doesn't work. Wes Craven always builds suspense in his films and this is of course true in 'Cursed' also, but the bad outweighs the good by far here and even Craven's best attempts at suspense can't help to save this film.
In terms of the casting it's not all bad news. I felt that Christina Ricci performed extremely well in her part as Ellie, I like her style of acting and thought it really worked in 'Cursed'. She was well selected and I enjoyed the role she played within this film, so at least that's one plus point to draw from 'Cursed'. Performing alongside Ricci as her brother however was Jesse Eisenberg as Jimmy. Quite frankly he was awful and at times his acting was so cardboard that I thought they may even have replaced him with a cut-out. Poor casting here, something that can be said of a lot of the people that were picked to perform within this film. It's probably not all their fault though, the script to 'Cursed' is so terrible that few I feel could come out of it looking anything short of awful. Luckily for him it didn't completely ruin his career though, Jesse Eisenberg did eventually manage to get more work even if it wasn't until two years later.
It started so promisingly, and yet as the film progressed things just seemed to go from bad to worse. The attempts at CGI that were made here quite frankly are laughable. It's hard to believe that it was 2005 that 'Cursed' was released, from their grasp of CGI it didn't seem anywhere close to that recent. Every time the 'werewolf' was shown I just couldn't help but laugh. It looked more like a rat than a werewolf. The use of CGI in 'Cursed' is about as impressive as Jesse Eisenberg's acting here and always it is greatly disappointing. It wasn't even bad in a humorous way really, it was funny in that it was so awful but I don't think they intentionally made it this tacky. Nothing was done right in 'Cursed' and even here they fail to get things right, just what were they thinking when they made this I wonder.
On no account would I ever recommend 'Cursed'. It wouldn't be a good film for any occasion, and unless you really want to waste an hour and a half of your life then I'd suggest that you give this film a wide berth. I just don't know why Wes Craven would direct this film, he's gifted us with such impressive horror films in the past and yet 'Cursed' is one of the worst horror films I've ever seen. In every genre there is always going to be the good, the bad, and the ugly; it just so happens that 'Cursed' falls into that final category there and disappoints on every level possible. With horror films I can often appreciate why people would perhaps like a film when I have not done, with 'Cursed' however I fail to see how anyone could ever possibly like such a bad film. It's just not good, its only redeeming features are its impressive opening and Christina Ricci's performance and neither of these factors are enough to save this film from being anything but an epic failure.
Director: Wes Craven
Year of release: 2005
Runtime: 90 mins
BBFC Rating: 15
Picture it; you have just been to the fair with your two best friends, experiencing the dizzying heights of the elaborate rollercoaster's, you've ate a horrendous amount of junk food and have had a brilliant night. Just as you leave though a psychic labels your group cursed, bound to death, she grabs your hand and hides her eyes in fright as she sees you're painful and bloody demise. This is where Cursed starts; skip to a pale faced television assistant and her younger brother who are driving back from a night out, when all of a sudden a huge dog lands on the road, forcing the driver to break and drive through a crude fences separating the tarmac from a steep hill leading into a dark forest. Their car flips over, but they meet another girl (one of the group at the fair) stranded and alone, just before the three can actually speak the newcomer gets dragged into the forest by a mysterious wolf like creature. What ensues is a deadly game of secret identities, elaborate deaths and a race against time to discover the creatures origins and kill it.
Cursed had quite a tough time being made, the story goes that Wes Craven directed a gory R film with terrifying sequences revolving more around the were wolves pasts and the two main characters relationship. But Dimension films in their wisdom decided that to make the film accessible to as larger audience as possible that the film should be edited down to a limp PG-13, so heavy re writes had to be done and a lot of leading actors including Omar Epps and Scott Foley's scenes were taken out of the final film. This was a bad move as the clunky editing fails to give the film a smooth quality and any potential scares are ruined because the patchwork feel of the film doesn't allow for much tension and at times it can all become a bit tiresome. Sadly there isn't a nice flow between story and action so when some excitement does eventually come you are taken aback at the sudden and often completely pointless change in pace. Still as a whole I enjoyed the experience of watching it, because when it does get into its stride towards the end it manages to deliver some thrills and a brilliantly trashy finale leaves you with a spring in you step and a smile on your face.
Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven first joined together in 1996 to completely reinvent the slasher genre with their astoundingly clever Scream, which gathered huge critical acclaim and went on to earn over one hundred million dollars at the box office. It was one of the few highlight in its tired genre and really changed the way people looked at horror movies. Obviously a slew of other self knowing 'smart' stalk and slash film came after it, but none reaching the heady heights of the sub genre master. Cursed in the first time they have both been involved in a movie together since Scream 3 and it is their attempt to re-vamp another well worn film stereotype the Were-Wolf. Sadly Williamson completely misjudges the situation and tries to replicate his slasher roots instead of drafting a completely fresh style, we are given an odd mix of comedy (none of which is particularly amusing) and trashy B movie thrills. When the screenplay gets firmly into the latter the production is allowed to become a solidly enjoyable if slightly predictable little vehicle. For some unknown reason the excitement is stopped for inane sequences that are outstretched and reminded me of Teen Wolf with its childish approach at comedy, the twists are largely guessable, but when a who dunnit strand is weaved init starts to become engaging too. What worked in Scream doesn't work here because Williamson doesn't construct a strong structure or create interesting characters, for the dead middle section you will get thoroughly bored. Thank god for that ending ..
Christina Ricci's moon pale skin and hauntingly large eyes bring a gothic intelligence to her performance. Ricci is one of the main highlights of Cursed with her supreme ability to make an audience instantly drawn in by her always beautifully three dimensional acting, she seems to understand the film more that the script writer and is the main contributor to the most inspired moments. I loved her easy confidence and completely believed in her character Ricci portrayed a real inner strength that kept me watching and gave the role of Ellie more quality than it perhaps deserved. Single handedly keeping this film from complete destruction I was genuinely impressed with the amount of energy that she managed to gather, she was obviously committed to the films success. Sometimes I found it hard to believe that her characters transformation was so effortlessly simple, but really that is a problem with the characterization not the actress.
Jesse Eisenberg is pretty horrendous as Jimmy Ellie's younger brother, he often makes failed attempts at humor and comes of more annoying than engaging, he is lumbered with a wholly unoriginal character and is bogged down to the point of drowning, because of the pure lack of anything substantial to get his teeth into. He manages to look fairly comfortable in front of the lens but he did very little to improve his flimsy role. Portia De Rossi is one of my new favorite television actresses I loved her in Ally McBeal and am reveling in the glorious Arrested Development so was interested to see what her involvement in this production was. Unfortunately it is almost nothing, she is hired in to play Zelda the kooky psychic and then is completely forgotten about, it really is a shame because I think her involvement would of really added some genuine flourishes of comic genius. Mya and Shannon Elizabeth and both only hired to be screaming victims neither being given anything to work with, Mya is part of one of the films few inspired sequences but you won't remember their performances. Joshua Jackson is suitably sketchy as Ellie's suspicious boyfriend, he manages to become menacing and charming with the click of a finger, but his character only drifts in and out proving to be a most uninteresting romantic lead. Judy Greer plays the same character that she always does and has now truly got the whole professional bitch from hell thing down to a tee, she captures a nice sense of energy and injects importance into her minor role, she always burn with ferocity.
Cursed is heavily stylized and you have got respect the overall production design (apart from the awful creature but I will get to that in a minute) the is a gothic element to much of the layout that I found particularly effecting and very striking. A large chunk of the film is set in a wax museum so many of the big fight scenes are played out through all the differently themed rooms, this adds a fun yet strangely atmospheric sense to the production. The main colour palette is typically dark, using shades of green to add a 'spooky' aura to the scary scenes and deep reds that look brilliant, a lot of the scenes bleed in together tonally which adds a much needed fluency to the production and the overall effect is nice. Sadly the horrendously childish CGI effects are simply laughable, the main 'creature' is used by mixing computer effects with live action stunt work (a man in a wolf suit.) This doesn't really succeed because the computer work makes the beast look weightless as it bounces about on the environments, there is nothing authentic about its re construction and it hardly looked any better than a crude cartoon sketch sometimes which rendered the were wolf completely un- scary. A lot of the camera work is very slick and the elaborately plotted fight sequences all look quite realistic, and the gory prosthetics are suitably disgusting.
There is a distinct lack of tension in Cursed, which is its main downfall of the whole thing. I never felt threatened by the overgrown dog and hardly any of the death sequences where very inventive. After creating some truly memorable demises in the scream trilogy, I am surprised that Williamson didn't construct some hardcore shocks. I didn't jump once throughout the whole film and found the failed attempts at edge of your seat anticipation rather prolonged and uninteresting, it isn't until the end when secret identities are revealed, and a thrilling fight to the death occurs that there is any full throttle energy. Here the film is at its best, the film should of all been about tension and with some carefully planned plotting it could have been. Oh, how the mighty has fallen Wes Craven, perhaps the most famous horror director still working in Hollywood today has truly crashed and burned with this attempt and a monster mash. He should of either make a complete trash thriller or a proper horror, but this mundane mix of the two with much annoying inanity just fails to spark any inspiration in the audience. His usually keen eye for striking visuals in still noticeable, but his uniquely dark and intelligent take on the horror genre is nowhere to be seen and he makes a dry fairly predictable affair. Failing to make any impact on the viewers his direction is fairly uninspired, but he does make attempts to keep the pace up.
I can't say that I recognized any of the songs on the soundtrack but it did contain all the usual heavy rock and strong instrumental work that is usually used to build tension in a slasher, whilst still making it hip. Overall I didn't particularly think that Cursed was a very good film, it is more of a re tread than the zesty re invention that I expected from the Williamson and Craven pairing. Christina Ricci adds a haunting atmosphere to the film and the ending is truly inspired, but I don't think I could truly recommend it.
Thank you all for reading and rating, it really does mean a lot, as always I wish you all the best. Jay
You Can Buy Cursed From Amazon For 12.99 ASIN: B0009W9ABY
Back in 1996 Wes Craven took a Kevin Williamson script and made Scream. The movie was a big success and opened the floodgates for a whole new batch of horror films, some good, a lot bad.
In 2005 the writer and director re-united to once again put a sly spin on the genre with an all-knowing werewolf movie called Cursed. This time the golden hand that touched Scream would be replaced by one riddled with arthritis and very dry skin. Take a glance at any review for the movie and each one of them will mention the numerous production problems this shoot encountered. Half way through shooting the movie, production was halted and the script was re-written. This meant cast members dropped out, characters were removed, complete scenes lost and new ideas thrown in.
The end result is a complete mess of incoherent plot, blandness and generally bad ideas.
In the final version, a brother and sister are driving along Mulholland Drive at night. They end up in car accident and get attacked by something in the dark undergrowth. In the days after they both find strange things happening to them, soon they discover that both have inherited werewolf tendencies and people around them are encountering nasty demises. Its clear theres a werewolf on the loose in Hollywood but is it one of them or is someone else feeling the bad moon rising?
Along the way there is some naff digs about the entertainment industry, some very lame cameos and of course, spooky fortune teller woman who pops up to tell Christina Ricci that shes in grave danger Woooooooo! Id love to give you more idea of the plot but it darts from one place to another without any idea of where its going, so its hard to know what the story was when all is said and done.
Im not sure there was ever a good film waiting to get out with Cursed. They obviously stopped production when it was apparent there were severe problems and things needed to be salvaged. Needless to say the whole experience left Director Wes Craven pretty disillusioned with Dimension Films and Miramax. One the decision was made to water down the content you can see that anything decent the film had to offer was lost. The original adult orientated cut is now just a piece of suggestive gore. Id like to say it has some good scares but unfortunately it doesnt. The werewolves are nicely done for the most part, its too bad the characters suck on every level. The only decent moment comes when one of the wolves gives the finger.
Cursed is a complete waste of your time, energy and possibly money. Wes Craven deserved better but also should have known better. The film is every bit as suckey as you may have heard. Im glad I saw it as a part of a free rental trial.
- IS THERE A SAVING GRACE -
Sadly even the nice 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer cant make the film any better. Cursed looks nice on the small screen despite its bland production design.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is pretty punchy and full of scare moments throughout. Unfortunately you may be asleep when the time comes to fully appreciate it.
- MY PALMS ARE HAIRY -
The film may have bombed but surprisingly there are a few extras on the disc, one of them is actually better than the final movie.
The Making Of is sadly a bland affair where cast and crew talk about how theyre making a smart fun movie. Everyone is great and everything is fine. If there were an executive with any sense then a true making of would have been included. Im sure many people would have bought the DVD if it included a warts and all documentary on the actual production and what went tits up.
A small amount of time is spent looking at the effects in the movie. Its good to see the practical werewolves being created; its too bad theyre spoiled but some ropey CGI in some parts of the movie.
There is also a featurette on the editing of the movie. Its worth pointing out that there is footage here that doesnt end up in the movie. In fact its probably some of the best stuff, namely the gore. It just goes to show that the watered down version lacked the intended bite so to speak.
Becoming A Werewolf is an amusing little film that follows actor Jesse Eisenberg as he goes through the make-up process of becoming a werewolf. Its an amusing little film and I actually preferred it to the movie.
Is Cursed worth any of your cash. In short I wouldnt spend a couple of quid on it, I doubt Id spend a pound on it. You should be thankful that I have warned you about the dangers of encountering such as mess as this.
A brother and sister are trying to recover from the shock of losing their parents. Out driving one day they become involved in a car accident and are attacked by a wild beast which drags off the other driver involved. Soon the siblings begin to experience physical changes.