You know, the tendency when you have success with something is to push it as far as you possibly can. Perhaps horror director guy Wes Craven and his screenwriter pal Kevin Williamson should have just quit after “Scream.”
After all, it’s sort of hard to top defining an entire genre of movies --- for better or worse --- for an entire decade.
But they didn’t quit. The duo churned out two sequels to “Scream,” where a killer in a mask stalks sexy youths, then a werewolf movie, where a werewolf stalks sexy youths and then they went ahead and made another “Scream” just for good measure.
And “Cursed” is a weird movie. Williamson and Craven clearly seem to be going for the same sort of wink-wink, nod-nod humor that worked so well for most of the first “Scream” movie.
Only, instead of slasher conventions, this time their focus is on Hollywood culture. Which I guess is pretty funny to two guys who work in Hollywood, but not so much for the rest of us.
|Clunky acting, bad script, lame visuals make for a movie I'd like to steer clear of watching again.|
I’m going to go ahead and spoil a lot of this movie, so if you haven’t seen it run! And don’t stop running until you find a place on the internet that talks about new movies.
Christina Ricci and Jesse Eisenberg play a brother and sister, still sort of grappling (but not too much) with the deaths of their parents. Ricci is a producer or something on “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn,” while Eisenberg plays a nerd. Shocking.
One night, while driving back from the city, the pair get in a car accident after a massive wolf hits their car. They careen into another car, driven by Shannon Elizabeth, who’s sporting some very unfortunate bangs. Long story short, the wolf eats Shannon and bites Eisenberg and Ricci, cursing them to become werewolves. Unless they can find a way to break said curse.
Oh yeah, there’s also a few useless subplots thrown in the mix for luck, I guess: Joshua Jackson trys to open up the least night-clubiest night club in the history of night clubs (lots of wax sculptures, no bar?), a high school bully who turns out to be gay for some reason, etc., etc.
Any way, the sort of main werewolf here is a crazy, back-stabbing publicist. With the right kind of ears, you can almost hear Williamson saying “Geez, publicists, amirite?” and then high-fiving Craven off screen.
Towards the end of the movie, after her treachery has been revealed, the publicist narrowly escapes being shot to death by an entire squad of cops. Now, Christina Ricci’s character won’t stand for that. For one, she never liked the publicist to begin with, (because publicists, amirite?) but also because Ricci thinks she needs the publicist dead to break her werewolf curse.
She lures the publicist --- who’s now completely in werewolf form, by the way --- back by talking about how she has bad skin and a fat ass. Being a super-vain resident of LA, the wolf-publicist can’t stand for this and comes back to flip off Ricci, only to be promptly gunned down by the army of waiting police officers.
I didn’t get the movie’s humor and I’m not totally sure Williamson knew what to do with it either. He has characters deliver all sorts of painfully flat lines like:
- "That's enough with the biting!"
- Ricci: "All the good things in my life keep going away," to which Josh Jackson replied in a manly fashion: "I'm not going anywhere."
And the thing is, he’s got a pretty talented cast. He just ends up making them all look pretty bad. Well, that’s not entirely true. Eisenberg makes himself look pretty awful with his half-assed scream during the carwreck scene and Milo Ventimiglia is the least convincing high school bully of all time.
Eventually, we get the usual twists, turns and monologues during the climax that we’ve all come to expect from Williamson and Craven. Turns out the publicist wasn’t the main, main werewolf, but that’s only a surprise to the characters. The movie telegraphs pretty clearly who the real one is going to be, and even if it didn’t there are only so many characters it could be anyway. Personally, I was pulling for Kilborn, but alas, no.
Once revealed,the real big wolf on campus predictably spends the finale sorta trying to kill Ricci and Eisenberg and sorta just trying to talk their ears off. I have no idea why our filmmakers are so fond of this plot device, but they must be head-over-heels for it because they’ve used it five times now.
Mostly though, “Cursed” was just pretty yawn-inducing. The plot wound its way down a familiar path, never doing anything even close to the fun and clever stuff we got early on in “Scream.”
On top of that, I didn’t get the humor, the performances were clunky and the writing made them look even worse.
Worst of the worst
See: Christina Ricci tells werewolf she has a fat ass.
There it is kiddies, “Cursed.” Don’t blink or you might miss a mustache-less Ron Swanson early on as a helpful cop. Definitely the highlight.