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</script></div>{/googleAds}I'm embarrassed. I'm embarrassed for Wes Craven, Kevin Williamson, Christina Ricci, and everyone else involved in the production of Cursed. I'm even ashamed at myself for being seen in the theater that screened this movie. While there's something to be said for trying new things and for thinking outside the box, there's no excuse for this ridiculous mess of a movie.

Cursed represents the much heralded reunion of horror partners Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven, the team behind the commercial success of the Scream series. But apparently the studio suits were so dissatisfied with the first version of the film, they ordered the crew back on the set with a reworked script, a new cast and a mandate to knock it from an R to a PG-13 MPAA rating. If what I saw represents an improvement over their first attempt, then how bad must the first version have been?

Hoping to strike a familiar chord with the same audience that devoured the Scream movies, Craven and Williamson try to blend a comedic ingredient into the horror stew. But pulling that off would require them to walk a thin tight rope of skill that neither is able to negotiate. As a result, Cursed is neither funny nor scary. Not even in an fi'80s campy kind of way. We're hit with a barrage of pop-culture references that are meant to be clever throwback references, but instead come off as gimmicky pleas for cheap attention.

With Cursed, Craven abandons his teen-slasher trademark in favor of werewolves, a more firmly entrenched and widely explored subject matter in the horror genre. Werewolf movies have a long history in Hollywood making them significantly more difficult to enhance with new twists or unexplored surprises. Cursed is slightly reminiscent of 1981's An American Werewolf in London, but where that film was fresh and treaded mostly unfamiliar waters, Cursed drowns in its own poor craftsmanship, weak script and lack of ingenuity.

Ellie (Christina Ricci), a career-oriented 20-something and her geeky high school-aged brother, Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg) live a quiet suburban life in the home of their recently departed parents. The pair is driving home one evening, when an animal suddenly leaps in front of their car causing them to cross the centerline and strike an oncoming vehicle. As they attempt to remove the injured occupant, a growling beast pulls the woman from their grasp and into the bushes where she's apparently torn to shreds and eaten alive.

Jimmy is convinced that what he saw was a wolf-like creature, but Ellie isn't quite as sure. As events unfold and the siblings begin to show strange symptoms from the bites and scratches they received, Jimmy becomes even more suspicious that a werewolf may have bitten them. Once a 90-pound weakling that often found himself as the object of jokes and ridicule at school, Jimmy is now able to throw members of the wrestling team around the mats with near supernatural strength. Ellie experiences a previously unrecognized sex appeal to the males at her workplace as well as an acutely refined ability to smell blood from yards away.

Ellie and Jimmy spend the rest of the movie trying to uncover the identity of another werewolf in their midst. They hope that, as legend has it, removing the werewolf's head from its heart will not only kill their adversary, but also reverse the curse bestowed upon them.

No innovative horror techniques are introduced and no new werewolf conundrums are explored in Cursed. In fact, there are very few positive attributes to comment on at all. The cgi is absolutely abysmal, resembling that of Saturday morning cartoons more than what we'd expect from a major Hollywood motion picture. I realize that the film's shtick is to mockingly pattern itself after the golden age of teen horror, circa 1980, but that doesn't pardon the filmmakers from their lack of anything resembling original thought or filmmaking ingenuity.

Horror films are getting harder and harder to make these days. Viewers want something new to be scared about. The old, tried-and-true horror techniques of hockey masks and bloody hatchets no longer cut it. And neither does making fun of the era of hockey masks and bloody hatchets.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen 1.85:1

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access.

* Featurettes:
o Behind the Fangs: The Making of Cursed
o The Cursed Effects
o Creature Editing 101
o Becoming a Werewolf
o Selected scenes with commentary by Special Effects Makeup Supervisor Greg Nicotero and Actor Derek Mears

Number of discs: 1 - Region 1 Keepcase packaging.