It is ironic that a film called Cursed was plagued with so many production problems since the first day of filming in 2002. In fact, rumour has it that director Wes Craven was allegedly rebuked by producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein because his initial cut was too violent and would not reach a wide audience. And so Craven (allegedly) abandoned the film only for another director take over the helm.
After a bizarre car crash in the Hollywood hills, curious psychological and physical powers begin to manifest themselves on attractive Television PR girl Ellie (Christina Ricci) and her tiresomely geeky brother Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg). Was it southern California’s first wolf attack in 70 years? Or was it something much more evil and sinister?
The annoying thing about Cursed is that it could have been a brilliantly weird and quirky B movie but it lacks the right irony and wit. It is a stupidly inept and frankly boring film unfit to be labelled a TV movie for a budget cable channel – it is that daft and uninspiring.
Cursed goes to show that writer Kevin Williamson, the man who penned Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, cannot conceive anything even remotely original. Fans will label his work a homage to classic horror cinema, but homage has always been a posh way of saying ‘rip-off’.
Cursed suffers from an incredibly feeble script – it is filled with unintentionally funny lines and enough cheese to stock a whole supermarket. It breathes in everything that has been seen before and fails to challenge the viewer with intelligence and excitement. Even Rick Baker’s special effects and make-up are lame in comparison to his work on The Howling and An American Werewolf In London in the early ’80s.
As with the Scream trilogy there is a set of rules that the characters must abide by in order to challenge the horrific creation that stalks Hollywood. Jimmy delves into websites and books, researching ways he can fight the werewolf’s curse. His infected sister laughs off his claims at first until she encounters a physic and starts to acquire some scarily odd attributes such as a taste for blood.
Cursed is cursed with hammy performances and irritating characters with an abundance of loathsome traits and inadequacies. The audience in this particular auditorium laughed more than they screeched. Toward the ultimate climax the scenes set in an artificial hall of mirrors could have been a really tense and suspenseful set but is hilarious instead. Practically all the scenes concerning the mysterious beast are completely incompetent and not frightening.
Wes Craven needs something much stronger and effective if he is to resurrect his career as a master of the macabre. Not since New Nightmare in 1994 has he delivered a thoughtful exercise in psychological horror. The Scream trilogy may have brought Craven more fame and attention but they are fun thrillers at best and in hindsight, stupidly overrated.
Avoid Cursed like you’ve been infected with the mark of the beast.