Review: Cursed

The best thing that can be said about Cursed is that it’s scarier than Teen Wolf Too.

Photo: Dimension Films

The best thing that can be said about Cursed is that it’s scarier than Teen Wolf Too. The unkindest thing, sadly, is that it’s not nearly as terrifying as the original Teen Wolf. Concocted without an ounce of inspiration by Scream masterminds Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson, this fright-free horror flick concerns a sister and brother, Ellie (Christina Ricci) and Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg), who are bitten by a werewolf and, after coming to grips with their, ahem, hairy situation, race to undo the curse by killing the big, bad chief wolfman.

Puzzlingly, the film doesn’t even seem to be about werewolves half the time: Ellie, with pale skin, neck-biting fantasies, and an all-black ensemble, is more like a vampire, whereas Jimmy’s leaping ability and pummeling of school bullies in front of his dream girl recalls Spider-Man. Worse, though, is the film’s utter indifference toward shocks, gore, or concealing the main monster’s true identity. Joshua Jackson is transparent as Jake, Ellie’s mysterious boyfriend, a hunk putting the finishing touches on his horror movie-inspired nightclub, and Judy Greer continues working on her tired mega-bitch routine as beastly celebrity publicist Joanie.

If Craven and Williamson envisioned Joanie as part of a larger satire about bloodthirsty Hollywood, however, such intentions are drowned out by the rabid roars of the film’s horrid CGI creature (which, unbelievably, gives one character the finger). People fly through the air at an alarming rate, and Shannon Elizabeth gets the (dis)honor of perishing during the filmmakers’ trademark intro death scene. Yet it’s Williamson’s script—bursting with gems like, “Everybody’s cursed, Jimmy…It’s called life”—that deserves to be taken out back and shot.

Unlike I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Ginger Snaps, and countless other werewolf movies, Cursed only briefly alludes to any lycanthropy-as-puberty subtext; Jimmy’s feral condition is equated to his homophobic tormentor’s repressed inner queer, while lavishing baffling attention on cameos by Lance Bass, Craig Kilborn, and Scott Baio. And even then, the film is too inept to humorously capitalize on the fact that the Happy Days heartthrob’s PR flack is named Joanie.

 Cast: Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, Joshua Jackson, Shannon Elizabeth, Mya, Portia de Rossi, Michael Rosenbaum, Kristina Anapau, Milo Ventimiglia, Eric Ladin  Director: Wes Craven  Screenwriter: Kevin Williamson  Distributor: Dimension Films  Running Time: 96 min  Rating: PG-13  Year: 2005  Buy: Video, Soundtrack

Nick Schager

Nick Schager is the entertainment critic for The Daily Beast. His work has also appeared in Variety, Esquire, The Village Voice, and other publications.

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