Cursed

"Weak"

Cursed Review


Although Arrested Development's Portia De Rossi and Judy Greer co-star in the werewolf mishmash Cursed, fellow Arrested cast member and erstwhile Teen Wolf Jason Bateman is nowhere to be found. Too bad; this horror-comedy could use a little more deadpan in its comedy, and a little more anything in its horror.

Really, both should've been covered when Miramax reunited Scream's writer and director, Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven. In the Scream trilogy, these uneven artists brought out the best in each other: Williamson's overwritten self-referential dialogue felt smarter braced against Craven-directed tension, which flourished with funny and likable characters. Cursed starts with the likable characters, and then jams on the brakes.

After a violent encounter with a mysterious beast, orphaned siblings Ellie (Christina Ricci) and Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg) find themselves developing eerie powers, waking up in strange places, seeing strange marks on their bodies, and so on. It doesn't take long for Jimmy, who is, like many of Williamson's characters, enthusiastically nerdy, to venture a guess about what has happened, but it's more difficult to convince Ellie (apparently less literate regarding the comics, websites, and occult books that Jimmy consults).

During the middle of the film, as Ricci and Eisenberg react with both joy and horror to their newfound animal aggression, Cursed sporadically resembles fun. Ricci is particularly believable as a smart girl gone wild - you practically cheer for her to complete the transformation. The film's single best moment has her prowling around her office before discovering she's actually on the hunt for blood. It's funny, creepy, and deceptively simple.

Ellie works on the Late Late Show (hosted, during the movie's hectic production, by the since-departed Craig Kilborn) and it's a testament to Williamson's previous successes that he's now able to populate his in-jokes with actual cameos (Scott Baio and Kilborn himself appear, to mildly amusing effect). A kernel of young-Hollywood satire sits deep within the film; it jumps around a few times, but it never pops. All of Cursed is like that, generating momentary excitement and little in the way of results. A concrete werewolf mythology - the basic hows and whys - never emeges, and soon the personal dilemmas of Ellie and Jimmy are sidelined for frantically ineffective monster-mashing. More disheartening: Williamson and Craven are content to allow the story to turn into a muddled whodunit worthy of a second-rate slasher picture ("Who is the original werewolf?" replaces "Who's the guy in the mask killing everyone?").

The presence of Ricci, Eisenberg, De Rossi, and Greer, pros all, suggests that at some point, this project might've been something more. The film apparently went through several rewrites, production breaks, reshoots, and re-edits, retooling processes lining up like dominos. The uncharacteristically tame result makes it difficult to suss out which version, if any, attracted this kind of talent.

And the seams show. A few suspenseful sequences jostle against slasher-style monologuing (beware tense speeches recited to the main character as she backs away with fear in her eyes); cracks at Hollywood are overtaken by badly cut fight sequences; some decent performances simply don't have the time to find motivation or detail. We're left observing the uneasy spectacle of a werewolf movie feeding on itself.

The "unrated" DVD isn't particularly gorier, but it does offer selected scene commentaries, and several making-of documentaries.



Cursed

Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Friday 25th February 2005

Box Office Worldwide: $19.3M

Budget: $35M

Production compaines: Dimension Films, Craven-Maddalena Films, Outerbanks Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 4.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Zela, as Ellie, as Jimmy, as Bo, as Joanie, as Jenny, as Becky, as Brooke, Daniel Edward Mora as Jose, Jonny Acker as Earl, Eric Ladin as Louie, as Jake, as Werewolf, as Officer, Ken Rudulph as Newscaster, Solar as Zipper

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.