Film — Cursed (PG-13)
by Amy Diaz
Joshua “Pacey” Jackson and Kevin Williamson search for life after Dawson’s Creek while Christina Ricci searches for a werewolf in Cursed, an occasionally unintentionally funny horror movie.
I bet that Dawson’s Creek reunion is looking mighty good right now, Misters Jackson and Williamson. Jackson, who plays the somewhat obsessive, former ladies’ man boyfriend of Ricci’s character, spends the whole movie looking puzzled — puzzled, perhaps that so many years on a famous-ish show gets you only B-horror-movie far in Hollywood. Williamson, creator of the Creek as well as the Scream movies, seems to have forgotten all about sarcasm and humor and stuff and decided to go straight for cheese with occasional moments of mocking his own movie. It’s like all the jokes about the crappiness of Scream 3 and Dawson’s finally got to him. His writing seems bitter, beaten down and half-hearted.
Or, you know, maybe the long stay on the shelf for this movie plus the attempt to get the rating down to a PG-13 from an R resulted in deletion of the supports that held up the rickety haunted house ride.
In short, Cursed is probably a mediocre horror movie that has been edited into a truly awful one.
Of course, Ellie (Ricci) is the first one to admit to the easy-come-easy-go show-biz life. As a producer for The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn (which gives you a sense of how long ago this movie was shot) Ellie’s had to carry out some tough orders, such as the decision to bump Scott “Chachi” Baio in favor of an extra segment of Carrot Top. But none of that seems half as difficult as fighting back the blood lust that she recently acquired as a result of a strange animal bite. See, she and teenage brother Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg) were driving along, expositioning for us about how their parents were dead and they were having a tough time making it as two kids alone in the Hollywood Hills, when out of nowhere a big furry thing hit their car. Ellie swerved, forcing another car off the road and over the cliff of Mulholland Drive. It being night and all, with odd animal noises filling the air, Ellie and Jimmy decide to go crashing into the woods to try to help the bitchy other driver. Naturally, she’s eaten and Ellie and Jimmy sustain bite marks. Sure, everybody says it’s a mountain lion or a bear but once Jimmy starts to display unnatural strength and Ellie throws off hotness vibes (apparently werewolves are ubersexy) Jimmy begins to believe that maybe they were attacked by a more supernatural beast.
And, we’re off to the races with the predictable sense of Ellie not believing Jimmy, Ellie and Jimmy noticing changes in themselves, other odd fang-related deaths, an explanation of this particular brand of the werewolf myth and a bite fight at the end wherein killing the right werewolf de-wolfs you.
It’s in these final scenes, where fighting naturally mixes with bantering, that we finally get little tastes of the Williamson snark, not to mention the creeps for which director Wes Craven is known. But never is there more than a hint at what these two horror experts are really capable of. The movie has the elements of funny —the pomposity of Kilborn, Jimmy’s high school’s social structure, general show-biz antics — but it never actually pulls more than a few laughs from you (and many of those are not with the movie but at the movie). The movie has the elements of scary — sharp teeth, noises in the bushes, unknown monsters — but isn’t really frightening (unless you count what this means for Ricci’s career).
Cursed was probably never a great movie but enough weird remnants of an entertaining movie glint through the moldy cheese to make us believe that it’s the film itself, not just the characters, that is under some evil spell.
- Amy Diaz
2005 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH