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Cursed (2005)

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Plot Summary:
"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."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 14 October 2005 My Rating: out of 5


Even though this film had a well-publicised rocky production history, and I had read many a scathing review of it, I was told by a reliable source that it was a better film than one might expect. Well, the good news with this Wes Craven-Kevin-Williamson-Christina Ricci teaming is that, indeed, it's better than I expected. It's not a turkey. There's some interesting themes and subtext going on here, and the opening twenty minutes are even watchable. But then it all goes to a clichéd hell in a hand basket, really.

Ricci and Jesse Eisenberg are siblings who get into a car accident on Mulholland Drive, with Shannon Elizabeth (in a cameo) in the other car. This would be bad enough if they weren't also attacked by what Eisenberg believes to be a werewolf (bye-bye, Shannon). Ricci has her doubts but soon after the accident, both start noticing some very strange developments. A possibly wacko gypsy (a seriously overacting Portia De Rossi, in yet another cameo) warns them that they are cursed, and so Ricci and Eisenberg set about finding the head to separate their head from their body. Could it be Ricci's uber-bitch boss Judy Greer (who makes De Rossi seem subtle)? What about Ricci's somewhat brooding boyfriend Joshua Jackson? Perhaps it's Michael Rosenbaum, as the nosy co-worker? Maybe it's Scott Baio, who is this film's idea of a 'Guest Star'? Like I'm gonna tell who it is...

This is such a badly scripted film (perhaps by keeping the running time down, they forgot about coherency?), and not just because of the inexplicable participation of Baio and Craig Kilborn (whom Ricci's character works for, but his late night talk show is no longer on the air, from what I hear and I'd never heard of him) The patented Williamson in-jokes seem merely there for decorative purposes, nothing is really done with all the movie props and zero is done with Scott Baio, and I'm not even sure if the references to 'The Wolf Man' were meant to be funny, a serious homage, or just a rip-off. And whilst a gay subplot is an intriguing idea, it doesn't mesh with the rest of the film (in general, we don't know enough about the characters here to care), and most of Eisenberg's high school scenes are so clichéd, they wouldn't even have made the cut on 'Saved By the Bell'. That's a shame, because Eisenberg isn't bad in the role.

Poor Craven doesn't seem to have his heart in it. The opening scenes have a creepy, fog-laced Universal horror feel (it looks fabulous), especially when De Rossi's gypsy turns up, but after that, it's the stock-standard stalk-and-slash stuff. Shockingly, the film is actually depressingly low-key and flat, and Craven must take the blame for that. As for the acting (Greer as stated, is terrible, even though her character gets the film's biggest laugh with a specifically extended finger), Ricci does what she can but clearly thinks herself above the material. She looks great, though, and has a perfect face for horror movies. Jackson, whom I used to actually like on 'Dawson's Creek' does most of his acting with his pathetic attempt at facial hair. He looks suicidally unhappy to be in the film. Perhaps he and Ricci actually read the script. All other performances suffer from a script that barely gives them anything to do. Meanwhile, the FX (apparently the overrated Rick Baker had in-name-only participation here) are wildly variable, especially fake-looking when moving.

Not awful (it's too short to be that offensive), but after the opening twenty minutes or so, it becomes flat and disappointing. Maybe Craven and Williamson were simply hacks who got lucky a couple of times. After all, Craven did make 'Last House on the Left' and 'The People Under the Stairs'...

Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @horrorasylum
Location:Scotland, UK
Review Date: 03 May 2005 My Rating: out of 5

Despite being mauled by the majority of critics, I still believe that Cursed had potential. I also believe that any short comings are in no way the fault of Wes Craven.

The film starts out in 'Lost Boys' territory as Shannon Elizabeth and Mya visit a fortune teller at a boardwalk carnival before the continuity problems begin and we get right into the thick of things.

The film manages to be entertaining and certainly doesn't outstay it's welcome but it's cracks are all too apparent, and it stumbles around until it's not so dramatic anti-climax.

I have to say that I was very disappointed with Kevin Williamson as the dialogue was apalling, along with the majority of the story, but there were a few cool set pieces which, given a bit more effort, would have paid off big time.

I was also disappointed with the majority of the cast here, although they did the best that they could with the material, and you know you're in trouble when Shannon Elizabeth manages to turn in one of the better performances whilst keeping her clothes on!! In the end however it is Milo Ventimiglia who manages to make an impact, as he plays the only character who goes through any kind of transformation, and considering there's a few werewolves in this, that's saying something!

The CG is atrocious, the humour is unfunny and Michael Rosenbaum's wig is hideous.

Where they get it right is with the nightclub/wax museum setting, which allows for all manner of famous boogeymen to pop up, and in the parking garage which is the highlight of the movie, and would have been even better if they hadn't cut the end of the scene. Why bother cutting out what everyone who reads Fango has already seen?

Nearly 10 years after the release of 'Scream', fans will be sorely disappointed by this hacked up carcass that at one time showed a hell of a lot of promise. Whether they got it wrong on paper or in the second round of shooting remains to be seen, but what we definitely know made it worse is those scissor happy Weinsteins.....again.

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