Everybody was drooling at the prospect of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson teaming up for a werewolf movie. This is the same duo that revitalized horror with Scream, and the list of guest stars lined up quickly for even brief appearances in Cursed. Well, by the end of the film, people will again be drooling, but this time because they are probably asleep. Cursed is a huge letdown in that it is so run-of-the-mill. Everything is so ho-hum, which is a shame, since the two creators are capable of so much more. As it stands, there is the same snarky dialogue that Williamson (Teaching Mrs. Tingle, The Faculty) like to insert into his screenplays. None of it really works aside from an amusing subplot about one high schooler coming out.
This projects looks like it was on the shelf for a while. Rumor has it that Cursed was original rated R, before its PG-13 cut. The worst element is that Ellie (Christina Ricci, Monster, Anything Else) works for The Craig Kilborn Show, since cancelled. Having an actual television show play into the plot is always risky, as shown here. But to pick somebody like Kilborn? Ugh. It's just a reminder of how unfunny his show was. Scott Baio (Superbabies, Dumb Luck) also shows up as himself. Wow, Baio and Kilborn. Real winners there. Other cameos include Shannon Elizabeth, Portia de Rossi, Mya, Lance Bass (another winner), and some somewhat known actors with smaller roles, including Michael Rosenbaum (Bringing Down the House), Michelle Krusiec (Duplex), and Judy Greer (The Village). Ellie and her brother Jimmy (Jessie Eisenberg, The Village, The Emperor's Club) are involved in a car accident one night where a werewolf attacks them.
Over the next few days, they begin to exhibit strange powers and feel differently. Jimmy believes they are turning into werewolves, Ellie believes he is imagining things. Williamson's script does try to focus more on the relationships and interactions of all the characters. This would help if the characters were not so inert. Joshua Jackson (Racing Stripes, The Safety of Objects) shows up as Jake, Ellie's commitment shy boyfriend who is devoid of any personality. Ellie and Jimmy's parents also died recently, but that never figures too prominently into things. The basic mythology that they soon discover is that to free themselves of their 'illness,' they need to kill the werewolf that infected them. This werewolf is also responsible for a number of other killings.
Cursed degenerates into a lame chase full of mock surprises, red herrings, and a dumb werewolf that is sometimes CGI and sometimes person in a wolf suit. The motivations behind the killings are amazingly moronic, and much of Williamson's attempts at humor fall flat. Instead of opting for something new like Scream, Craven and Williamson just rehash old werewolf movie basics. Ricci, Jackson, and Greer are all miscast, although in Greer's case it could be seen as trying to broaden her resume. Eisenberg plays the same role he typically plays (i.e. nerd), and since he gets the best lines, he comes out fairly unscathed. The worst off are Craven and Williamson. They are capable of so much more. Both have not had much success lately, so unfortunately Cursed may be part of a trend rather than one bad attempt.
|Haro Rates It: Not That Good.|
|1 hour, 36 minutes, Rated PG-13 for horror violence/terror, some sexual references, nudity, language, and a brief drug reference.|
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