ninth symphony films - movie reviews

CURSED (2005)

DIRECTOR  -  wes craven

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  horror

LENGTH  -  96 minutes

RELEASED  -  25 february 2005

DISTRIBUTOR  -  dimension films

OFFICIAL SITE  -  cursed

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $35,000,000
cursed - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from cursed at

buy the dvd from cursed at

a werewolf loose in los angeles changes the lives of three young adults, who, after being mauled by the beast, learn they must kill their attacker if they hope to change their fate.

after extensive reshoots and rewrites, actors who had their roles cut completely from the film include illeana douglas, heather langenkamp, scott foley, omar epps, robert forster, corey feldman, mandy moore, and skeet ulrich.


picture from cursed

picture from cursed

picture from cursed

picture from cursed


zero out of four possible stars

Cursed may not be billed as a comedy (it is in fact scripted as a horror film), but the amount of unintentionally hilarious scenes and ridiculous special effects might have viewers wondering just what exactly director Wes Craven and his crew were thinking when they constructed this feature film oddity. An extensive portion of the movie was rewritten and re-shot months after principal photography had already been completed. Due to scheduling conflicts, much of the cast was written out of the film and the entirety of the plot was changed to a different angle.

Re-shoots and rewriting don't necessarily mean a film is doomed though if anything, trying to improve an otherwise unmarketable film is a worthy though sometimes nearly impossible task. And with what eventually ended up on screen, one would be hard pressed to imagine just how bad the film must have been before the rewriting had occurred. But in the vein of most badly done films, this movie's failure is not due to one element. It would be harsh to say that everything about the film is unredeemable, but that statement wouldn't be that much of a stretch.

Lead stars Christina Ricci and Jesse Eisenberg (they play a pair of siblings bitten by a werewolf) aren't in and of themselves a pair of bad actors. It's just that the material with which they had to work looks ridiculous on screen. Although the dialogue certainly could have used a punch in the gut, the words that come out of their mouths are usually in line with what one would expect from a horror film, but when these words are placed on the decrepit excuse for a plot, it doesn't seem to matter what Ricci and Eisenberg or any of their costars say. They just seem to wander around in the circles of the already-been-done and the been-there-done-that for an excruciating hundred or so minutes.

Beyond the plot's predictable nature, it seems lazy of horror aficionados Craven and Kevin Williamson (the writer) to have created a film in their chosen genre that doesn't display any of the gut-wrenching horror these two filmmakers have been capable of in the past. With movies like the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series and the "Scream" series to their credit, they've both proven their worth in this genre. Is it possible the title of the film had anything to do with the multitude of problems that exist in nearly every level of the movie?

Beyond the weak scripting and lackluster plot, there exists a much more pressing problem that pushes this film far beyond a simple forgettable slasher flick. It's not really a mindless horror film with naked running co-eds in every other scene and buckets of teen blood falling everywhere. It's constructed more as a film that investigates the interesting history and phenomena of werewolves. But whatever interest viewers might find courtesy of this mythology is knocked out completely by the absolutely horrid and uneven special effects.

It's not just a matter of being able to discern when a life-size puppet or a computer generated effect was used in the scenes featuring werewolves. It's the fact that these real-life and digital effects are both so sloppily done in nearly every instance a werewolf is called to the screen. Whenever a werewolf has been inserted digitally into the frame, the effects call to mind the beginnings of digital effects and make this film seem like it was made in the mid-1990's. Now granted, the budget of this film probably wouldn't have allowed the type of real-life special effects needed to make the werewolves completely believable in their digital form, but there's no reason the filmmakers should have spent their money on such goofy digital effects.

And since it's so easy to tell when the digital werewolves are on the screen (they're so obvious it's like looking at the cartoon characters in Who Framed Roger Rabbit), it's even more obvious when the puppets or suited werewolves are dancing around. And although a film shouldn't be tossed completely on the strength of its special effects (because after all, not every film has an infinitesimal budget), the varying degrees of success regarding the werewolf effects are too egregious to be ignored.

Further, these effects really dig into a viewer's ability to take the protagonists' difficulties seriously when the goofy werewolves are coupled with an even goofier attempt at humor. The unintended humor notwithstanding (and there's a lot of humor in this film that certainly wasn't planed), the film still boasts a strange sense of humor that the stars seem completely incapable of keeping realistic. Just because something's funny doesn't mean it can leap away from reality.

After the major changes made to the film with several actors' roles falling by the wayside, the remaining players in Cursed aren't let with anything worth recommending to even a targeted audience. It's a distinct possibility that general viewers would find the movie unpalatable, but it's not a stretch to suggest that even fans of the horror genre or Craven enthusiasts would be displeased with this film. It's just a goofy, scattered experience that one should only view it with the intention of having a good laugh.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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