*** (out of 5)
February 25, 2005
Christina Ricci as ELLIE
Jesse Eisenberg as JIMMY
Joshua Jackson as JAKE
Shannon Elizabeth as BECKY
Portia de Rossi as ZELA
Mya as JENNY
Directed by: Wes Craven
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Let’s not mince words. “Cursed” is not a great film. It’s not even a good film. In fact, it really kinda stinks. The writing is stale, the dialogue is laughable, the acting is pitiful.
It’s a werewolf story that is utterly predictable and thoroughly hackneyed. And it has bizarre cameos like an episode of Match Game gone horribly awry. Scott Baio? Craig Kilbourne? Lance Bass? Come on, people, they only mention Carrot Top, ‘cause I guess he’s too classy for them.
Normally, I’d consider Wes Craven a master of the horror genre. He’s given us some of the fundamental horror flicks of the modern day. Films like “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “The Hills Have Eyes” and “Scream” brought life back to the genre. However, he was also responsible for some not-so-good movies, like “The People Under the Stairs,” “Shocker” and “Deadly Friend.”
By teaming up with screenwriter Kevin Williamson, Wes Craven is trying to recreate the magic of “Scream.” Unfortunately, “Cursed” itself has a curse.
The film moves pretty fast, rocketing through the opening credits. Before too long, we’re introduced to a bunch of characters and quickly realize this will be a werewolf movie. Kevin Williamson throws some pretty awful cliches at us, including Portia de Rossi as a cookie-cutter Gypsy fortune teller.
Sometimes this movie tries to be a new “I Was a Teenage Werewolf,” but never fully commits to the part. In reality, it’s Christina Ricci’s movie, although Jesse Eisenberg’s story of the nerdy teenager dealing with his curse is far more interesting.
But there was something about it that really made me laugh, even if that wasn’t the intention of the filmmakers. To quote Mark Borchardt of “American Movie” fame, there’s dialogue in there that’s so bad, it would make the Pope weep. For example: “I guess there’s no such thing as safe sex with a werewolf.” Yup. This has classic written all over it.
I’ve always been fond of horror movies. One of the reasons, I often tell people, is that in all other genres a good movie is a good movie, and a bad movie is a bad movie. However, in the horror genre, a bad movie can also be a good movie – sometimes better than it would ever have been if it were any good.
However, these good “bad” movies only work when they’re unintentional. I love the folks at Troma, but they make intentionally bad movies. Good “bad” movies are films like “The Evil Dead” that seriously try to be a horror movie but end up being absurd.
In early 2005, we’ve been plagued with plenty of bad horror movies that never reached that realm of absurdity. However, “Cursed” does, and that’s the sole reason I recommend it. This film could easily be the “Springtime for Hitler” of horror movies.
And in a time when the buzz centers around films about wine country and the struggle of the human spirit, this kind of inanity is a little refreshing. You can definitely escape from all the Oscar buzz with “Cursed” and have some fun at the movie theater.