Charmed Meets Scream
After watching "Cursed" I was surprised by how much negativity there was surrounding the movie because in truth I found it entertaining. That trouble seems to stem from the fact that this is a movie written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven and with that comes certain expectations. Not only that as "Cursed" also had a troubled production from actors cast, replaced, dropped, rewrites, reshoots and edits, I get the feeling that originally "Cursed" was destined to be another full on horror movie but somewhere down the line the focus changed and it became a comedy horror which was more about the fun frights and self referential humour than horror scares. What that means is that "Cursed" is more akin to "Scream" than a full on horror but whilst fun fails to create that freshness which came with "Scream".
After the death of their parents Ellie (Christina Ricci - Sleepy Hollow) has taken care of her teenage brother Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network) and on picking him up from central L.A. are heading home along Mullholland Drive where they are involved in a car accident. As they try to help the woman trapped in another car they have an encounter with a strange creature which kills the woman and injures them. Perplexed by what the creature could be Jimmy starts researching and discovers that it could have been a werewolf and as they both start to experience strange changes in themselves it seems more than likely they're both been infected.
Recently I caught a few episodes of the old TV series "Charmed" and in a way "Cursed" reminds me of it because this isn't a scary horror nut one with content which to me is aimed at the mid teenage market. Add to that plenty of humour which has a self referential style akin to "Scream" and you have what almost amounts to a family friendly horror because whilst there is suggested gore you rarely see anything. That is probably why for many "Cursed" ends up a disappointment because it does feel like the horror equivalent of "easy listening" as we have some nice looking characters, some nice special effects, some nice action and some nice humour but never anything really biting.
Now I have already mentioned the troubled production and you do begin to wonder whether by the time things finally got moving those involved just wanted to get the movie done. I say that because when it comes to style "Cursed" is incredibly familiar and you can pre-empt so much of it from moments of action to twists as well as humour surrounding both Ellie and Jimmy dealing with have been infected. But it still works because by being unchallenging it is a case of sit back and enjoy the mix of obvious humour and fun frights. In fact the actual storyline becomes less important as all the simple horror and humour takes centre stage and whilst some of it most certainly falls flat it still has the ability to make you laugh.
And to be honest that is about it yes we have a surprising amount of characters and you get a sense that some of them were in a lot of scenes which ended up on the cutting room floor as you get scenes which almost hint at a character being important and then they are hardly in it. But those who play the central roles such as Christina Ricci and Jesse Eisenberg do a nice job of making the most of their characters fun side. Add to that the wonderful Judy Greer as Joanie delivering a genuinely fun character and again it is a case that "Cursed" is easy going horror fun.
What this all boils down to is that "Cursed" is purely easy going fun rather than full on horror and is in a sort of middle ground between "Charmed" and "Scream". It probably is a disappointment if you watch expecting a biting horror but if you just want fun horror it works.