Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

Regardless of what some people may tell you, when it comes to American horror movies, we want to see blood and guts. Thatʼs how we are as a culture. Now this doesnʼt necessarily apply to films like “The Grudge” or “The Ring,” both of which were rated PG-13 and based on Japanese horror films. Taking this fascination with gore into account, the powers that be behind the new film “Cursed” decided at the last minute to make the film PG-13, foregoing most of the blood and gore in the film. Considering that we are talking about a film that is essentially a creature feature, the audience is going to expect the gore even more than usual.

In fact, the film seems like it is making an obvious attempt to extract the gore from the film, such as one scene where it just goes to black while the character screams as he or she meet his/her end. Despite what any of the filmmakers say, it seems intentional that there is nothing grotesque in the film. “Cursed” centers around a brother and sister (Christina Ricci and Jesse Eisenberg of “The Village”) who get into a car accident with another motorist, leading them to be attacked by something.

They begin to change and develop different abilities that seem to be for the better. Baring the mark of the beast, geeky Jesse (Eisenberg) goes from being the class joke to being able to pummel the wrestling teamʼs captain without even warming up, and career driven Ellie also gets a heightened sense of smell. They soon find out that with the added powers come grave consequences and it becomes a race against time to find out how to stop their transformation before itʼs too late.

The film is a reunion of sorts with Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven, the creators of the “Scream” series, re-teaming along with Portia De Rossi (“Scream 2”) and Joshua Jackson (“Dawsonʼs Creek” and “Scream 2”). While there are some similarities between this and “Scream,” it is best not to base your expectations for “Cursed” on the “Scream” movies.

While “Cursed” is enjoyable to watch, especially with a rather short running time, there are two flaws that it suffers from. First, as a creature feature, there arenʼt very many scary moments. Unlike the slasher flicks of the last decade, this film doesnʼt have very extensive death scenes or even many chases — after all, a werewolf can just rip you apart without much effort. Second, the development of the filmʼs plot is a little too simplistic. The plot never gets very involved and many of the twists can be guessed before they are revealed. Things also seem to magically come together at times.

The saving grace of the film comes in its sly humor. As has become one of Williamsonʼs trademarks in previous films, the characters have witty dialogue and biting humor. Much like “Scream,” it is through humor that the film proceeds to turn the creature feature genre on its ear. Unfortunately, some of the best jokes are subtle, such as Scott Baioʼs publicist being named Joannie (Get it? Baio played Chachi in the T.V. show “Joannie loves Chachi”) or the fact that Ellie is a publicist at the Craig Kilborn show (despite the fact that he is no longer the host).

In the end, as you walk out of theater, you will be happy with the film because the positives outweigh the negatives. “Cursed” will not go down in history as a great film, but because the film doesnʼt take itself too seriously, “Cursed” is sure to satisfy.

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