Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Cursed

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for horror violence/terror, some sexual references, nudity, language and a brief drug reference

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
STAFF WRITER

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
Genre:
Action/Adventure, Horror, Supernatural
Length:
1 hr. 36 min.
Year of Release:
2005
Featuring: Christina Ricci, James Brolin, Portia De Rossi, Jesse Eisenberg, Shannon Elizabeth
Director: Wes Craven
Producer: Marianne Maddalena, Kevin Williamson
Distributor: Dimension Films
Copyright, Dimension Films
Copyright, Dimension Films
Copyright, Dimension Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Dimension Films
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What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “An estranged brother and sister living in Los Angeles, mourning the recent loss of their parents, are brought together by a savage werewolf attack, forcing them to fight for survival, against both the beast and the dangers of its virulent curse.”

Review

He was born August 2, 1939 in Cleveland, Ohio. His childhood has been described as an unhappy one. Illness forced him to drop out of college during his first year. A few years after he was married, he became separated from his wife and two children. He left his job as a teacher and ended up driving a taxi. His first job in the film industry was in the field of editing. His first success as a director was “The Last House on the Left,” a horror film released in 1972. “The Hills have Eyes” (1977), however was the movie that put Wesley Earl Craven’s name on the Hollywood map. Yes, Wes Craven has made his share of scary flics. His name is now associated with fear.

Three years ago, I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Craven. We sat together on a panel to discuss the current issues of censorship. It was a very enlightening experience. He directed one of my favorite films, “Music of the Heart” (1999). I know that many are surprised when I share that fact. Wes told me the sad truth of how the industry manipulates projects. Craven’s horror success has been very impressive. “Music of the Heart” was a long time dream of this director. It was also part of a contract agreement prior to “Scream 3.” Unfortunately, this wonderful movie was never publicized. That’s right, they didn’t even promote the one movie he wanted to make.

Wes has also written a novel entitled “Fountain Society.” The studios told him that he could make this story into a major feature. Just before I went to Hollywood, Mr. Craven had the plug pulled on yet another dream. He told me about the werewolf story that they wanted him to do instead. “Cursed” is almost a fitting title for his latest release. Yes, Craven’s name is synonymous with fear, but I know that this man has other dreams way beyond the borders of this bloody genre.

Once again Hollywood tries to manipulate one of its hottest teams. I’m talking about Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson. This was the collaboration that resulted in the trio of “Scream” flics. I know that the original idea of this feature was set in London. I know, because I got to sit in on a photo shoot with Mr. Craven and the London press. I’m not sure what happened to the project after that. I do know that the studios pulled the plug on this project for several weeks. The result was several cast changes. Trying to change some of the special effects also slowed “Cursed” down.

I talked to this director about the influence of his pictures. He shared with me that when he presents evil.he hopes to make it SO terrible that the audience will be drawn to the “good.” He is not afraid of the R-rating and catering to adult audiences. He also does not approve of children viewing his work.

“Cursed” was originally rated R and went through an editing/review process to squeeze it to PG-13. After Dimension Films forced Craven through all the previous disappointments, they didn’t even release the movie to the critics for any screenings. This always sends a signal to those that review entertainment, “this is going to be a bad movie.”

I know, I can tell by the finished product that Craven’s heart just wasn’t in this one.

(This could be sung to the tune of the “Brady Bunch” theme.)

Here’s the story of a girl named Ellie (Christina Ricci).
    She was raising her brother Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg) on her own.
Their parents had died and it was tragic
    and they were all alone.
But then one day they were cruising down Mulholland.
    There a wolf of some kind leaped into their car.
They swerved and crashed into another
    but with just a wolf scratch so far.
It wasn’t long before the two of them started changing.
    Ellie could smell things from afar.
Jimmy could now beat the local bully.
    That is how “cursed” they are.
(you can stop singing here)

Yes, the brother and sister go through bodily changes, and the werewolf starts eating anyone who lives in Hollywood. The story simply lacks character, plot and all the reshoots in the world cannot make this one any better. It is a cheap horror rip-off for the teenage “I miss Buffy” crowd. There is plenty of sexual themes, bloody violence and language for any PG-13 movie.

My strong recommendation is to skip this. I also warn parents that every scrap of Craven’s original cut will be included in the DVD release.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

Viewer Comments
Neutral—“Cursed” is a movie about werewolves. This movie is more campy and comic-like then a pure horror film, as the trailers would have indicated. The story is simplistic and generic but has some enjoyable moments. The movie and the actors at times are not really sure what this movie is trying to be. Christina Ricci who I think is a very good actress seems to fall flat and some characters have been badly miscast. Ricci’s character and her “brother” are two of the most unbelievable siblings I have ever seen. That said, some of the werewolf graphics are impressive (yet short-lived) and some are downright cheesy. The movie was limited in the gore factor and gladly no unnecessary sex scenes were thrown in. This movie is mild on a scale of most horror films but I would be very cautious of the somewhat violent scenes of the werewolves attacking people where younger viewers are involved. I also appreciated that religion was not used in this film in any manipulative way. They decided to let silver to be the weapon of choice. This movie could have been better in many ways and much worse in may ways too. I did however enjoy the Scott Baio/ chachi cameos. I was just waiting for him to utter “the WAh wah wah!” werewolves… Not too offensive, yet not too impressive either.
My Ratings: Average/2
—Laura, age 30
Neutral—I loved “Cursed” it was an awesome movie. But if you would like your teenagers to watch a horror movie go rent the ”Grudge” that is MUCH better then this one!
My Ratings: Average/3½
—FB, age 24
Movie Critics
…Limp horror “Cursed” is a reason to scream… anemic werewolf thriller…
—Stephen Schaefer, Boston Herald