*Note – originally written in 2011
Poor Wes Craven has had a tough time of it recently; a string of films which either flew under the radar or were critically ripped to shreds seem to have left him as a man clearly past his best. Then again, when your best contains some of the best films ever made, it’s difficult to keep hitting those heights. I thought Music Of The Heart was a sweet little film, and that Red Eye was an underrated thriller. I remember this getting badly mauled at the time of release, and in all honesty the trailer put me off a little – I just wasn’t interested in seeing Joshua Jackson being Joshua Jackson again. I, at time of writing, have not yet allowed myself to see My Soul To Take, but almost every review I’ve read of it claim it to be one of the worst things ever. Cursed claims to be a standard enough horror films – Werewolves in the modern day, but it’s given a slight Post-modern Scream style vibe. Does that mean it’s good? Read on, you crazy diamond.
Spoiler alert – it’s not good. But a caveat to that is that it isn’t too bad either. It’s fine. It doesn’t say anything new about the Werewolf genre, it’s twists aren’t very surprising, and the effects are pretty shabby. However, I felt that the principal cast put in decent shifts and it had a few amusing moments. I was never bored and it passed the time without much effort – I’d much rather watch this than a Twilight. It’s main flaw is that we expect so much more from a man who several times changed the face of horror. To everyone’s credit, the sordid history of the project is peppered with dumb decisions, script changes, multiple endings and reshoots, the replacement of practical effects for CG, and other issues so it’s hardly surprising that the end result is a little incoherent and tarnished. If Craven and Williamson and the crew had been left alone to do what they do best, I have no doubt that their version would have been more in line with what they originally envisioned.
The film follows a brother and sister, played by Christina Ricci and Jesse Eisenberg who come into contact with a werewolf running riot in LA. There is some Spiderman-esque fun to be had watching the weak nerd growing stronger and more confident, and the cast are talented enough to wrangle some humour out of the proceedings. There are perhaps too many strings running through the script – the nerd being bullied and chasing his crush, the estranged brother and sister, the seemingly perfect boyfriend, the bitter bit on the side, the weird fortune-teller, the dog….. with a little refinement it would have been better, but it was never going to be another Scream.
For Craven fans only then, or at least horror fans who don’t mind things getting a little cheap, messy, and silly. There is fun to be had with this, and while it is far from the best work of anyone involved, it isn’t the trainwreck most critics howled about.
Have you seen Cursed? Why do werewolf movies no longer succeed when they used to be popular? Let us know in the comments!