--Reviewed by Lindy Loo
Plotline: Christina Ricci and her brother hit a "large animal" of some sort and get bitten/scratched by the creature. Brother quickly comes to realize that they are now "cursed" with the mark of the werewolf. Sister does not believe him, takes some convincing. They realize they need to track down the head werewolf in order to save themselves from the destructiveness of their wolfen blood.
Scariness factor: Little to none. Moments that were intended to make you jump out of your skin could be seen from a mile away by a blind-man who was also deaf and missing all his limbs and suffering from a terrible bout of genital herpes.
Originality: Let us quote a few moments from the movie--"What kind of animal could have done that?" and "Fine, don't believe me, but it WAS a werewolf." How many times have those phrases been recycled in werewolf movies? For about as many full moons that the earth has rolled its way through. Needless to say, this werewolf movie clung to all the tropes of pretty much any other horror movie of that genre--nothing much new, nothing much original. *SPOILER ALERT 'Cept for the fact that werewolves apparently aren't just compelled by the light of the moon and their animal urges but also the need to exact revenge on their ex-es. /END SPOILER
Other High Points: Jesse Eisenberg was actually the real reason this movie was tolerable--he was actually kind of funny and neurotic and a fairly decent actor. The movie also had many silly self-deprecating moments which redeemed it a slight bit. And finally, Scott Baio.
Other Complaints: Lamest special effects ever--in horror movies, less is always more (future topic for this blog); werewolf transformation scenes should NOT be computer animated because it defeats the whole point of them; household pets should also not be computer animated into wolves that are SO obviously computer animated that it is difficult not to wet yourself laughing. The stupidity of the characters (as in many horror flicks) was also slightly aggravating--if the sign says "Mirror Maze," if you walk in 2 feet and can TELL it's a mirror maze (even if you missed the sign), perhaps if you're trying desperately to find someone, you should just walk right back out and look elsewhere given that the nature of the mirror maze is to make it difficult to find things. A-duh.
(Check out Ginger Snaps instead--a far superior recent werewolf movie)
Reviewed by Patrick
"So how did you sleep last night?"
Okay. Woke up in the bushes."
I should note that I am passionate fan of werewolf movies. I've seen a ton of films on this monster, good and bad, so my opinion comes from years of being a werewolf film buff. As such, my opinion may vary greatly from yours. Viewer discretion is advised.
Plotline: Siblings, Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg) and Ellie (Christina Ricci), are attacked by a werewolf outside of L.A. They survive and both subsequently start to notice "changes". It's not long before the claws and fangs start coming out and people around them start coming up dead.
Scariness factor: Pretty low. I've seen episodes of 'Unsolved Mysteries' that were scarier.
Originality: It's tough to judge the originality of a movie that so obviously riffed on parts from other films. Maybe I've just seen too many werewolf movies, but from the "using werewolf powers to excel at wrestling" (Teen Wolf Too) to the "hitting the werewolf with a car" (Wolf, Ginger Snaps, Werewolf of Washington, the list goes on..), it seems like the movie spent so much time sticking to the tricks and traits of a traditional werewolf movie, it didn't have much of a chance to build it's own. But, to the movie's credit, I have never seen dark humor injected so easily into a werewolf movie as much as this one. Even the classic 'American Werewolf in London' failed to reach the solid blend that 'Cursed' had in this respect.
One bonus point they do get is giving the werewolves a strong human streak. In previous movies, it's generally established that, once the person changes, they become a beast, controlled only by instinct and possessing only the basest of human thought. In 'Cursed', the werewolf basically acts like a psychopath with fur. I found this to be a nice original touch.
Other High Points: Self-deprecating humor is something Wes Craven (the director of 'Cursed') seems to love these days. So, honestly, though I was going into this movie expecting something totally horrible, I found it impossible to truly dislike it. It's like the dorky kid who makes fun of himself, leaving you little room to pick on him. It was also, for it's carbon copy plot and, quite frankly, horrible acting on Christina Ricci's part, simply really a fun and entertaining movie that serves up everything you go into a werewolf movie to see (tortured psyches, mauled bodies with lots of fake blood, pissed off folks with yellow eyes).
Other Complaints: With Rick Baker at the helm of Special FX, I was expecting alot more from the werewolf. Mr. Baker's previous work has included some the best in werewolf effects. He's worked on such greats as 'American Werewolf in London', 'The Howling' and the sublimely subtle look of 'Wolf'. So, though the monster did look better than average, it still didn't jive with the high quality I've grown to expect and love from his work. Plus, the whole CGI "transformation scene" really turned me off. I've, certainly, seen worse, but I've yet to see it done well and this was no exception.
As a plot note, I'd also like to know how a young gay man can feel soo alone and like he has no one to talk to in Los Angeles, California!
Overall: Though it will never make my top 5 horror or even werewolf movies, I was really suprised at 'Cursed'. It's gotten alot of bad reviews and the stories about how the movie had to basically be shot twice because the first go didn't work at all left me thinking I was about to see the next 'Howling: New Moon Rising'. But, through all of this, I found a movie that didn't take itself too seriously, was truly entertaining and still delivered the bloody goods.