Worth A Look: 8.43%
Pretty Bad: 21.69%
Total Crap: 46.99%
7 reviews, 41 user ratings
by Scott Weinberg
It sounded great from the outset: horror-master Wes Craven would reunite with his "Scream" trilogy screenwriter Kevin Williamson, and the pair would head off to make a modern-day Werewolf Movie, while Dimension Films (which exists today ONLY because of "Scream") would happily foot the bill. Horror fans were psyched, the filmmakers seemed happy, and the studio would undoubtedly have some sort of half-decent hit on their hands. So what the hell happened?Since movie studios generally don't put out press releases regarding inevitable fiascoes, we're only able to piece Cursed's muddled history together through a few leaky pieces of generally-accepted tidbits:
"Undeniable proof that studio greed can (and will) ruin everything."
1. The script was never fully finished when production started.
2. The shooting set was not exactly a pleasant one.
3. The studio execs did not like the end product.
4. Extensive reshoots were scheduled.
5. Several actors found their characters scattered across the editing room floor. Many were excised completely.
6. New actors were brought in to play new (and old) characters.
7. More stuff was shot, most of which was glued together with material from shoot #1.
8. Once the 'rejiggered' version was complete, test screenings yielded largely unpleasant results.
9. In a last-ditch effort to make this thing even remotely profitable, the execs opted to snip the gory bits, trim down the intensity, and package this malformed mass into a PG-13 kiddie affair.
10. Cursed is quietly thumped into theaters during Oscar weekend while the studio crosses its fingers and hopes for Boogeyman-type numbers.
If much of this story sounds a whole lot like what happened with last year's Exorcist: The Beginning, then the moral should be plainly clear to even the greediest studio suit: stop making movies by committee. You don't trust Craven & Williamson to bang out a quality horror flick? Don't hire 'em. You want to rush into production without the assistance of a finished screenplay? You get what you deserve. And please don't think I'm reviewing the movie based upon its troubled production; lots of great movies went through ridiculously difficult gestation periods.
Despite everything I knew about Cursed, I went in to the movie wanting to find something I'd like. Honest. I'm sometimes accused of being a little bit "charitable" to the horror films, and that's a fair claim: I freaking love good horror movies! But it's my knowledge of (and passion for) the genre that forces me to call this one plain and straight: Cursed is the worst sort of horror movie imaginable. It's a cynical and soulless little husk that just trots out cliche after convention, it has no drive or momentum or darkness. It offers just enough visual excitement to fill a two-minute trailer, it features actors both bored and boring, there's nothing remotely spooky or creepy or compelling. This is simply one of the most inert horror films I've ever seen.
Plot? OK, fine...
A brother and sister: a) hit a werewolf on the road, b) witness Shannon Elizabeth being devoured, c) get bitten or scraped (or something), d) end up "cursed". And we all know what that means: find that pesky head werewolf quick! (But take your time doing it.) And since we're talking about a movie written by Kevin (Dawson's Creek), you can obviously expect huge dollops of oh-so-clever glibness, self-referential mockery, and huge long-winded speeches.
Talented and lovely Christina Ricci is basically fed to the wolves here. Since the film was shot, re-shot, and shot a little more, her performance ranges from earnest to absent to entirely unfocused. Plus the length of her hair changes in every other scene, and that's pretty distracting. The rest of the cast members occupy their one-note characters with generic intensity. Jesse Eisenberg does the "geek gets superpowers" schpiel; Joshua Jackson does the sweetheart-who-just-might-be-evil thing; Shannon Elizabeth gets devoured; and the supremely funny actress Judy Greer gets to play a humorless bitch. Just brilliant.
Like Exorcist: The Beginning proved: if you can't make a movie once, best not to, y'know, make it twice.When the horror fans gnash their teeth about Worthless Studio Fare, this is precisely the sort of movie they're talking about. "Cursed" was not created by Wes Craven & Kevin Williamson; it was created by a boardroom full of scissor-happy pencil-pushers desperate to jump on any old bandwagon...and I doubt any those guys even LIKE horror movies.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11767&reviewer=128
originally posted: 02/28/05 20:30:51