Cursed is a sheep in wolf’s clothing, pulling the wool over what might have been a decent bit of rip and shred. Flabby and incoherent, Cursed is a werewolf movie with no bite, a mangy mutt that just sits there licking its bone instead of chewing it.

In one of those be careful what you title your movie moments, Cursed lives up to its name, a disingenuous effort by director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson to recapture some of their Scream magic. A lot of water (and blood) has gone under the bridge since Scream, and not only do the director and writer fail, they fail miserably.

What was once considered clever and hip now seems tired and redundant. Scream redefined horror movies, introducing characters who not only knew the rules of the genre, but turned them on their collective ear. The characters in Cursed are dumber than doorknobs, clueless chatterboxes who never say anything interesting, funny or smart.

The bad news is that a werewolf is stalking the hills of Hollywood. The good news is that he only attacks young, good looking actors. First on the menu is Ellie (Christina Ricci) and Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg), brother and sister whose attempt to save an accident victim leaves them Cursed! It’s not long before they’re scarfing red meat for breakfast and using their new found animal magnetism to their advantage.

When Ellie’s not getting wolf calls from coworkers, she’s dreaming of giving her bland boyfriend (Joshua Jackson) a death hickey, while Jimmy teaches the homophobic wrestling star some new moves on and off the mat. Williamson plays the gay card so often and in such an obvious manner that his big plot revelation is baseless.

Technically, Cursed has lived up to its moniker. After numerous starts, stops and tinkering, what emerges is a patchwork of ideas that never gel. There are glimpses of a truly terrifying horror film hiding underneath the safety net of a PG-13 rating. I respect Craven as a director who rarely flinches, but with Cursed he seems to be directing with Eyes Wide Shut. I’m not sure if this is the byproduct of compromise or just lazy film making.

All of that tinkering dates the film, further diminishing its hip factor. Two years ago the notion of Ellie serving as an assistant for the Craig Kilborn Show would have seemed cool. Now that Kilborn is off the air that reference is as dated as the rest of the film. Cursed does boast state of the art special effects, but they’re in such a sorry state they’re hardly special. Computer generated fur-balls mix it up with mechanical puppets, yet none of the rubber and shag carpet manage to evoke the same gee whiz factor as Rick Baker’s An American Werewolf in London lupine.

Williamson needs to climb out of his way back machine and deal with the here and now. His characters act, talk and look like first generation Dawson’s Creek clones, which was so ten years ago. Craven needs to trust his instincts and quit making movies by committee. There are more fingerprints on this film than on a dead hooker on Crime Scene Investigation.

Shaggy special effects, living dead performances, comatose direction and monstrous dialogue make Cursed the perfect mate for Insult the Comic Dog….to poop on!

Where Wolf? Not Here!

Cursed Leaves Us Craven For More


Christina Ricci. Jesse Eisenberg, Michael Rosenbaum, Joshua Jackson. Directed by Wes Craven. Rated R. 86 Minutes.


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