Ellie (Christina Ricci) is a young woman working behind the scenes on a tonight show in Hollywood. An orphan living in the family home, she remains troubled by her past and also has to take care of her brother Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg), a nerdy high-school student. While she's giving Jimmy a lift home one night, an accident occurs that leads to both siblings being attacked by a mysterious beast. The two continue to go about their usual lives, but over the next few days there are signs that they may gradually be becoming werewolves.
Review by Jake Wilson:
If Christina Ricci were my daughter, I'd worry about her. In Cursed, she looks more gaunt and strung-out than ever, but less seems to be happening behind those big hollow eyes; there's a new plausibility to her world-weary pose, as if she were bored with the Gothic child-woman routine but persists cynically for the sake of her career, or because no-one ever taught her anything else.
As for the movie, it deserves its title. On paper, it must have looked like a potential comeback not only for Ricci, an It Girl of the late 1990s, but also for writer Kevin Williamson and director Wes Craven, who had their big hit with Scream around the same time. Of the three it's Williamson who comes off worst - his gift for structure seems to have vanished, and the tongue-in-cheek dialogue never rises above references to minor celebrities and lines like "Everyone's cursed, Jimmy. It's called life."
Craven has always been an uneven director, but by this stage he's a long way from the conceptual boldness of some of his 1970s and 1980s horror films. Aside from a couple of stalking set-pieces where he shows he still knows what to do with a frightened girl and a Steadicam, there's no sign he regarded the film as anything more than a job. Indeed it's hard to believe that anyone on the crew took much pride in their work (the special effects are particularly poor).
There are a few minor compensations: a funny performance by Judy Greer as a neurotic publicist and a quite sexy workplace scene where Ricci's "cursed" character succumbs to the allure of blood. If Williamson and Craven had the nerve to make her the monster, there could have been a movie. As it is, I expect to see her on TV soon, possibly starring as a precocious bestselling horror novelist who solves murders with help from the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe. That could work, right? Producers, if you're reading, give me a call.
There are a few special features on the DVD, including a look at behind the scenes and the special effects.
Published August 25, 2005
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CURSED: DVD (M)
CAST: Christina Ricci, Portia de Rossi, Mya, Shannon Elizabeth, Solar, Daniel Edward Mora, Kristina Anapau, Jesse Eisenberg
PRODUCER: Kevin Williamson, Marianne Maddalena
DIRECTOR: Wes Craven
SCRIPT: Kevin Williamson
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert McLachlan
EDITOR: Patrick Lussier, Lisa Romaniw
MUSIC: Tom Hiel, Marcus Trumpp
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Chris Cornwell, Bruce Alan Miller
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: BVI
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 9, 2005
PRESENTATION: Widescreen 2.40:1
SPECIAL FEATURES: The Making of Cursed; The Cursed Effects; Creature Editing 101; Becoming A Werewolf
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: BVHE
DVD RELEASE: August 17, 2005