Werewolves, Los Angeles, horror movie veterans, B-list actors, gruesome killings, ‘gotcha’ moments and realistic special effects…
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The recently released Cursed has all of the ingredients to be, if not a classic horror movie, then a fun scare, one that you look forward to revisiting every Halloween. Unfortunately though, even with all of those requisite parts, Cursed isn’t something that will make you lie in bed with the covers over your head. In fact its largely unimaginative plot and rather bland characters will probably be quickly pushed out of your head by the horrors of the evening news broadcast you watch right after the DVD.
Cursed is directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson. The last time those two got together they created the genre touchstone Scream. Unfortunately as hard as Cursed tries (and it does try) it doesn’t come close to the heights that Scream (at least the original) reached. And that’s even with the added power of master makeup artist Rick Baker pulling his weight in the effects department. His work on the creatures is good (as usual) but it doesn’t provoke a ‘never seen that before’ feeling. Nothing in this movie does that though. It’s not that it is overly formulaic, but it’s very derivative of Craven’s previous work, and every other recent horror film that pulled from the same.
Cursed tells the story of a brother and a sister who, one lonely night, run into a beast that, well I’m not giving anything away by saying that it’s a werewolf. From that point murder and mayhem ensue as they involve and implicate friends in trying to understand, and then stop what they have started. Part of the fun of the horror genre are the constant surprises so to say to much about a film like this would cut away the only fun it may provide.
At the centre of everything is Christina Ricci. Ms Ricci is a talented and unique actress who has unfortunately is wasted here in the stock role of a Wes Craven heroine. With her expressive eyes and ability to captivate silences, Ricci may well be perfect for the horror genre. But this film wastes any opportunity to discover that. It’s not that any of the other actors and actresses fare any better, no one is really given much to do. At this point, Wes Craven horror pictures have become just that, ‘Wes Craven pictures.’ It’s as if we’re supposed to show up at the theatre scared simply because of the director’s track record. While he has had some hits, a movie like this needs perhaps more imagination and less laurel resting.
For all the talent involved Cursed just can’t seem to reach it’s potential. All of the pieces are in place but, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t work. It is entertaining and will make you jump, but when its over you’ll be thinking about what you’re going to do next, instead of immediately checking your closets and locking your doors.
The DVD has several extras, none of which redeem the film. That’s because none of them essentially look at the film as a whole. There are three featurettes, which deal specifically with the effects, as does the lone commentary track. Sure the effects are cool, but by dissecting them so much they lose some of their allure and mystery. Sometimes it’s best not to know too much.