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Cursed (Unrated Edition)

Getting motivated to write about Cursed was difficult. It’s not the best of movies, and it’s not the sort of thing that really gets me riled up one way or another. That is until I started hearing some of their radio promotion. “One of the best horror movies of the year”, “terrifying”, “masterful” or whatever words they are using to describe it. That is not this movie, and Wes Craven is not the kind of director who can still make those sorts of movies. He’s the Bruce Campbell of horror filmmaking. Loved and revered for his past work, but no longer capable of doing things of that caliber. Instead, he’s grown cinematically fat and content, trading on his name, celebrity, and goodwill of his fans to keep leaking out load after load of horror movie crap. Cursed is just another of those excretions. They call this thing a werewolf movie, because it has a werewolf or werewolves in it. But not in the way that you’d think. Our heroes are a brother and sister bitten by a werewolf. They get bitten because they’re trying to save Shannon Elizabeth, whose lower torso is like werewolf catnip. Who knew I had so much in common with werewolves? In fact, all the werewolves in this movie seem to love the taste of thighs, they spend a lot of time gnawing off legs but never stop to bite into the meaty part of the human breast. There’s nothing like the taste of a good shoe I guess.

So our brother and sister heroes, whose names I don’t remember but are played by Jesse Eisenberg (so nebbish it hurts) and Christina Ricci (so much forehead it hurts) get bitten by a mysterious off-camera werewolf. Strange things start to happen. Not Teen Wolf things, more like Fantastic Four things. Our nerdy, weakling little brother starts beating up on bullies and attracting hot cheerleaders. His sister, who IMDB tells me is named Ellie gets hit on by Scott Baio and has a sudden urge to suck the blood out of other people’s bodies. Ok, maybe Ellie is confusing her werewolfism with vampirism, but the point is that they’ve started to change, for the better. Which is why I don’t quite get why they’re so freaked out about their transformation. Other than the appearance of a pentagram on their palms, there appears to be no drawbacks to becoming a werewolf. There’s no hair where it shouldn’t be, and the occasional appearance of fangs isn’t a problem. Being a werewolf is pretty cool, there’s no reason Ellie and her brother shouldn’t just sit back and enjoy the hell out of it.

Instead the sibs get all panicky, while Director Wes Craven cuts to some scenes of the werewolf eating more lower torsos. We finally see him, and while I’m happy they didn’t do the creature entirely in CGI, it looks a little bit 1989. I should probably forgive that, even the worst werewolf suit is a heck of a lot better than a CGI werewolf, so hats off to Wes for giving us that. Those darned kids start snooping around to find out who bit them, and a bunch of red herrings are thrown out to misdirect you. None of them work, but the effort is made anyway.

As a horror movie, Cursed is a pretty big failure. I’m the world’s biggest horror wimp, but even I didn’t feel the slightest twinge of suspenseful apprehension. There’s nothing scary about this, and when it tries to be scary it’s really just silly. It’s more of a superhero film than a werewolf film, complete with a super-powered canine sidekick. What happens when a dog gets bitten by a werewolf? Well, he can’t get more canine, but he can get really really angry. It’s times like these when I really miss Blade Trinity’s vampire Pomeranian.

Craven isn’t much of a slasher/horror master anymore, though I guess slapping his name on movies still gets people’s mojo going. It’s akin to the National Lampoon logo. I gave up on him long ago and Cursed hasn’t done a thing to change my opinion. For a single disc release, this one’s got quite a lot on it. None of it is any good, but at least they’ve given you quantity which I guess is better than nothing at all. A little quality is needed though. It’s also an “Unrated” edition which I suppose ads some value to you gore hounds out there since Craven has put back a lot of the gore he took out of the original to make more money off of underage moviegoers.

The worst offender is the film’s commentary track, which isn’t a commentary track at all. Instead, Buena Vista has released Cursed with commentary on “selected scenes”. Basically, they replay four scenes from the movie and the makeup effects team comments on it. Makes sense, since I imagine the makeup team wouldn’t have had much to say about non-makeup intensive parts of the film. But if I’m going to listen to the makeup team talk I’d rather see it as some sort of documentary. Commentary should be done with the director, writers, or some of the actors and it should be done on the entire film or don’t bother.

There is however a makeup effects documentary included on the disc, it’s just terrible and isn’t hosted by the makeup effects team. Instead, they’ve gotten everything ass backwards and the makeup effects documentary is hosted by one of the actors, Jesse Eisenberg. According to Eisenberg, his involvement with the project started when he came to Craven and asked for permission to make a documentary about the effects being done on the movie. Craven was so impressed by his idea that he not only gave him permission to film the documentary, he hired the kid as his lead actor. This all sounds very cool, until you actually see the documentary Eisenberg made, which is utter crap. It doesn’t qualify him to handle the film’s catering, let alone hop into the movie’s starring role. What were they thinking?

Again though, I hate to trash the disc. Buena Vista has really done an excellent job of releasing quality DVD products lately; they aren’t skimping on the extras and make it easy to skip past those annoying, beginning of DVD ads. Is it their fault if the folks involved in making the film are total incompetents? I don’t think so. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll want to run out and make this a purchase. Ignore all the advertisements flooding through your radio, avoid wasting time with Cursed.