Cursed (2005)

DVD Cover (Dimension Unrated)
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A werewolf loose in Los Angeles changes the lives of three young adults, who, after being mauled by the beast, learn they must kill their attacker if they hope to change their fate to avoid becoming werewolves too. --IMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: February 13, 2008
You know, for a man labeled as one of horror's greatest directors, Wes Craven sure has his fair share of duds. Among these is Cursed, a film which was very nearly lost in the bowels of Development Hell.

Ellie's (Christina Ricci) life is far from perfect. After her parents' death, she found herself responsible for her teenage brother, Jimmy (Jessie Eisenberg). Couple this with her stressful job as a producer on Craig Kilborne's show and the fact that her boyfriend Jake (Joshua Jackson) is most likely just using her to put another notch in the bedpost, and the immediate future isn't looking much better for the woman either. After picking up Jimmy from a carnival, their tense ride home is interrupted when they run into an animal of some sort, causing them to swerve into an oncoming vehicle, throwing it off the side of the road. Ellie and Jimmy run down to try and help the other driver, who is trapped upside down. Jimmy is able to undo the jammed seat belt, but something grabs the woman and drags her into the woods, clawing both siblings in the process. Not sure what the hell just happened, the two are broken out of their state of shock when the top half of the woman's body comes flying at them. That night at home, Jimmy does some internet research and becomes convinced they were attacked by a werewolf, thereby making them werewolves as well. Naturally, Ellie laughs this off, but she doesn't have any answers for the strange markings on their hands or her sudden attraction to the smell of blood. Likewise, Jimmy suddenly finds it a lot easier to woo his high school crush Brooke (Kristina Anapau) and fend off her homophobic current boyfriend (Milo Ventimiglia). The siblings quickly find out the attack might have been more personal than just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and as the full moon approaches, they have to work quickly to break the curse.

Director Wes Craven and write Kevin Williamson have teamed up before on the successful Scream franchise, a series famous for bringing a lot of parody elements to what was ostensibly a slasher movie. It's obvious that they were going for that same horror/parody mix here, but the attempt fell flat on its face. Instead of satire, it just ends up being a horror movie riddled with camp and clichés. And the sad truth is it's not even a good horror movie. Most of the movie is dealing with either Ellie's career or her relationship with Jake and Jimmy's attempts at picking up Brooke. Sure they throw a few scenes of them picking up werewolf traits here and there, like Jimmy randomly hungering for a raw steak, but these scenes are far and few between, not to mention unintentionally comical. For example, one of the ways the guy bullying Jimmy attempts to humiliate him is by conning him in a match for the school's wrestling team. Jimmy breaks out a collection of moves straight from the WWE, and the whole affair is nothing short of ridiculous. There are ways to do a werewolf movie that focuses mostly on the change itself effectively. Ginger Snaps and, to a lesser extent, An American Werewolf in London both nailed this approach. Cursed was more content to just make a WB episode of the high school show of your choice and throw some of the more famous clichés in almost as an afterthought.

As you might have guessed, the werewolf scenes themselves are pretty scarce. The roadside attack in the beginning is about fifteen seconds long, and is one of only three scenes with the hairy beast we came to see. The second one involves it stalking a slut through a parking garage, and this ends up being one of the best scenes in the movie. Indeed, Craven seems to have remembered what made him such an effectivehorror director; but alas, all is forgotten when the third attack climaxes in Ricci insulting the werewolf, prompting it to jump out, scream "LIAR!" and flip her the bird. I kid you not. In the long run though, the small amount of werewolf action is probably a good thing, because the creature itself isn't pretty. It's a combination of stuntman Derek Mears in a poorly constructed costume and an even poorer CGI model.

Both a failed horror movie and a failed parody; Cursed simply has nowhere to go. And since the production company was able to wrestle it down to a PG-13 rating, it doesn't even have any excessive gore or gratuitous nudity to fall back on. This wouldn't have saved the film of course, but it would have helped a little. Either way, I suggest satisfying your werewolf cravings somewhere else. 3.5/10
BuryMeAlive #1: BuryMeAlive - added 02/14/2008, 07:21 AM
Christina Ricci is always fantastic, but as the reviewer stated, the movie fails on all levels.
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 02/14/2008, 11:15 AM
This is one of the most pitiful excuses for a horror film I have ever seen. It's dreadful. The special effects are some of the worst I have ever seen, the script is weak and forgettable and there isn't a single performance worth noting. Not even the usually delightful Judy Greer can make her character come to life. I could not tell if Craven wanted this to be a comedy or a horror. With all the problems this film went through to see the light of day -- I was expecting bad -- but this is beyond bad. It truly is one of the worst horror films ever made. 0/10.
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