Cursed (2005) / Horror

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence, sexual references, nudity, language and a brief drug reference (edited down from an R, but I'd still rate it R)
Running Time: 96 min.

Cast: Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, Joshua Jackson, Milo Ventimiglia, Judy Greer, Kristina Anapau, Michael Rosenbaum, Mya, Shannon Elizabeth, Scott Baio, Portia de Rossi, Solar, Craig Kilborn, Lance Bass
Director: Wes Craven
Screenplay: Kevin Williamson
Review published March 5, 2005

Cursed has been used to describe this movie, as most of the film had to be re-shot long afterward to try to make it work, with many different actors.  Given the final release, I certainly have no intention of seeing the deleted scenes, as the ones that made the cut verge on disastrous.  Lots of gore was also snipped out to get a PG-13 rating, which might annoy the gore lovers out there, but I was personally thankful.  Not that I'm opposed to gore from dumb horror movies, but I am thankful for any reason this botched-up excuse for teen horror was made shorter.

The film starts with siblings Elle (Ricci, Anything Else) and Jimmy (Eisenberg, Roger Dodger) driving one night on Mulholland Drive when some sort of beast jumps on their car, causing them to smash another driver (Elizabeth, Thirteen Ghosts) off the road.  While coming to the woman's assistance, she is attacked and viciously killed by the beast, while Elle and Jimmy also are scratched in the process.  Shortly after, they both begin to exhibit some strange new behavior, including a thirst for blood, heightened senses and strength, and a pentagram shape appearing on one of their palms -- all signs that they are becoming werewolves.  it is said to remove their affliction, they need to kill the main werewolf responsible for the blight, which proves to be close to home for the two once they find out who it is.

Cursed is a long way from the success that the first Scream movie was for director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson (The Faculty, I Know What You Did Last Summer).  In fact, it feels much more like a pilot episode to a new horror television series, a la "Buffy" or "Angel", replacing werewolves for vampires.  As made-for-TV fare, this might have been par for the course, but as a major motion picture from two of the leading talents in the business of horror, the ineptitude is downright inexcusable.  First-time talents have made horror entries far better than these seasoned veterans, although I'm sure they will just write off the project as being out of their control from the get-go.

Small roles for Craig Kilborn ("The Late Late Show") and Scott Baio (does Craven have a thing for "Happy Days"? -- Henry Winkler was in Scream) do little to enhance the momentum of the film.  Ridiculous subplots involving the captain of the wrestling team (Ventimiglia, Winter Break) and his sexuality, and a two-or-three-timing boyfriend (Jackson, Urban Legend) make this look even more like prurient teen television trash not worthy of injecting into a legitimate werewolf entry.

Without scares or interesting twists, it isn't just bad, it's monotonous, leaving the recommendation strictly for viewers who enjoy horror films of any variety.  Cursed not only lives up to its name as an adjective for the production problems, but as a verb -- used to describe what the majority of viewers who paid for this dreck did for the film's entire duration.

Qwipster's rating:

2005 Vince Leo