Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Horror Movie Review: Cursed


Starring: Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, Milo Ventimiglia, Joshua Jackson, and Judy Greer

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Kevin Williamson

Release Date: February 25, 2005

Awards: Nominated in the 2005 MTV Movie Awards for Best Frightened Performance by Mya (Lost to Dakota Fanning in Hide and Seek)

If you do a plot keyword search of the term "Werewolf" you will pull up 183 titles including Big Fish, a decidedly non-horrific drama. So filter out everything that is not a horror film and you still have 155 films, although some are questionably tagged, such as F. W. Murnau's vampire flick, Nosferatu. The first werewolf film is either the 1925 silent feature Wolf Blood about a lumberjack given a blood transfusion from a wolf and convinced he is turning into a wolf, with no actual werewolf effects, or Universal Pictures 1935 Werewolf of London. That's almost 2 werewolf pictures a year. At this point you almost wonder what else can be done with the lycanthoropic legend.

In 2005, Wes Craven took a stab at the werewolf and gave us Cursed. In LA, orphans Ellie and Jimmy get attacked by a werewolf and are cursed with the mark of the beast. Jimmy figures out what is going on and begins to embrace the change. As people start turning up dead around the siblings, Ellie begins to accept the implausible truth. In order to return to their normal lives, Ellie and Jimmy begin trying to find the werewolf that started it all...and kill it.

There's nothing really special about the plot or anything about the film. It's kind of a paint by numbers flick. Craven seemed to try and give this the feel of The Lost Boys, replacing vampires with werewolfs. However, the setting of LA rather than a small Californian town eliminates the cut-off-in-an-alien-environment feeling we got from Michael and Sam in Santa Carla.

We see some Teen Wolf thrown in as Jimmy embraces his change to escape his role as tormented geek by standing up to the bully and winning the girl. Finally add a touch of Jack Nicholson's Wolf performance brought to us by Christina Ricci as she becomes more aggressive in her work, and the puzzle is complete.

It's not a complete loss if you're a Ricci fan, as I am, but it adds a level of disappointment that she would accept this role. It's fun watching Milo Ventimiglia as Jimmy's bully rather than flying around trying to save the world, but it's hard to swallow the character as overly stereotypical as it is. And the lead werewolf is a good choice, except the script seemed to leave off some of the werewold clues that Jimmy and Ellie show. A special nod should be given to Scott Baio who plays himself being a mistreated TV guest.

Considering some of the names involved (Ricci and Craven), it's a shame that this wasn't a better film that tried to do something new rather than chew up the same old things we've seen from other films. The film really was cursed...

Related Trailers

Sleepy Hollow

Christina Ricci starred as Katrina van Tassel in Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.

The Village

Jesse Eisenberg starred as Jamison and Judy Greer starred as Kitty Walker in M. Night Shyamalan's The Village.


Milo Ventimiglia stars as Ted Grey in Pathology Alyssa Milano. A group of medical students devise a deadly game: to see which one of them can commit the perfect murder.


Joshua Jackson starred in Shutter, the remake of a hit Thai horror film. A newly married couple discovers disturbing, ghostly images in photographs they develop after a tragic accident. Fearing the manifestations may be connected, they investigate and learn that some mysteries are better left unsolved.

Deadly Friend

Wes Craven also directed the 1986 Deadly Friend. Paul Conway (Matthew Laborteaux) is the new kid in town, who has his own invention, a robot named BeeBee. Paul becomes friends with Samantha (Kristy Swanson), the girl next door, but his efforts to see her are frequently thrawted by her abusive and jealous father Harry (Richard Marcus). On Halloween, Paul plays a prank on his sinister neighbor, Elvira (Anne Ramsey) a mean evil old woman who lives across the street from him. However in a fury, Elvira destroys Paul's robot BeeBee. Several weeks later, Samantha is murdered by her father. In a desperate attempt to save his new love, Paul implants BeeBee's microchips into Samantha's corpse and successfully brings her to life, but he doesn't realize that his friend has become an unstoppable monster bent only on murder and destruction.

The Faculty

Writer Kevin Williamson also wrote the screenplay for The Faculty. Students suspect that their teachers are aliens after bizarre occurances.

Hide and Seek

Dakota Fanning beat Mya for Best Frightened Performance at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards for her role in Hide and Seek. As a widower tries to piece together his life in the wake of his wife's suicide, his daughter finds solace -- at first -- in her imaginary friend.

Werewolf of London

Possibly the first werewolf film, Universal's 1935 feature Werewolf of London. While on a botanical expedition in Tibet Dr. Wilfred Glendon is attacked in the dark by a strange animal. Returning to London, he finds himself turning nightly into a werewolf and terrorizing the city, with the only hope for curing his affliction a rare Asian flower.

The Lost Boys

Cursed seemed to try to recreate the tone of this 1987 vampire flick. After moving to a new town, two brothers are convinced that the area is frequented by vampires.


Jack Nicholson preceded Christina Ricci as a professional dealing with lycanthropy at a job. Publisher Will Randall becomes a werewolf and has to fight to keep his job.

Teen Wolf

This is a more comedic tale about a highschooler who discovers that he is a werewolf.

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