Wes Craven is known as one of the masters of horror, thanks to unforgettable contributions like The Hills Have Eyes, The Serpent and the Rainbow, the ever popular series of Scream films, as well as creating one of the most memorable horror franchises ever with A Nightmare on Elm Street.
None of his movies are typically viewed as masterpieces, but everyone will line up to see who gets killed off in the latest entry to the Scream franchise. Why is that? Because Wes Craven makes fun movies. There are a million horror directors out there, some good, some bad, but all of them approach the genre of horror differently. Some like to get under your skin and make you feel violated, others like to make you afraid to walk home from the theater, and others still just want you to have a good time.
Wes Craven falls into that last category, and I think he also tops that category.
Tonight, we jump into one of Craven’s most over the top and yes, some would say ridiculous, movies to date: Cursed.
Year Released: 2005
Written By: Kevin Williamson
Directed By: Wes Craven
Starring: Christina Ricci, Joshua Jackson, Jesse Eisenberg
Jenny and Becky are the best of friends. They attend a carnival at a pier in Los Angeles where they decide, just for fun, to have their fortunes read. The fortuneteller greets them happily and gladly offers her services, but as she reads their palms, she grows very serious and concerned. She tells them they must flee, that their lives are in danger and if they are not careful they will both meet a grisly end, by someone –something– that will be hunting them beneath the full moon. Jenny and Becky laugh it off and try to pay the fortuneteller, but she refuses payment and assures them that she is not joking.
Later, siblings Jimmy and Ellie are driving home one night, when they swerve to avoid hitting a large animal that jumped in front of their car, causing them to hit an oncoming vehicle and send it down the same steep hill down which the unknown animal escaped. The siblings climb down the hill and meet Becky, the driver of the car, who is trapped inside and cannot move. Ellie attempts to remove Becky from her seatbelt and unpin her from the dash, when suddenly an unseen beast rips into the driver’s side of the car and drags a screaming Becky through the dark woods. Ellie grabs on to Becky’s feet, Jimmy grabs on to Ellie’s feet, and all three are dragged across the forest floor until the beast slashes at the siblings, causing them to lose their grip. Becky is dragged further into the woods and her screams are eventually silenced.
It’s after this horrific scene plays out that Jimmy begins to notice changes taking shape. He begins to fear that the wild animal responsible for their auto accident, the same animal that injured him and his sister, was something very sinister indeed. He fears that he and his sister might soon be in a very hairy situation.
This movie has not and will not win any awards. By werewolf movie standards, it’s not the worst I’ve seen, but is far from the best, and I feel it’s the same if judged by the standards of Wes Craven films.
That said, it’s a guilty pleasure for me. The fact that it’s written by Kevin Williamson, who wrote three of the four entries into the Scream movie franchise, and that it’s directed by Wes Craven, who directed all four Scream films, among many other genre classics, is mainly what convinced me to watch it. Wes Craven directing a werewolf movie? Yes. Yes, I will be checking that out.
The cast is great, even if the movie is not, as Christina Ricci, Joshua Jackson, and a then relatively unknown Jesse Eisenberg all deliver performances that are at worst decent and at best good.
The creature design is awful. I’m no fan of CGI werewolves, unless where absolutely necessary and when coupled with good practical creature effects, but even taking that into consideration, the monster(s) are sometimes hard to watch. Their faces more closely resemble bears than wolves, and the only time a creature on film does resemble a canine is when a dog is inexplicably infected with the werewolf curse as well. Even then, it’s pretty weak and is more cartoonish than scary.
The writing is about what you’d expect from Kevin Williamson, as much of the movie plays out like Scream, but with a werewolf instead of a masked killer. There are some genuine, if predictable, scares peppered throughout and it does have the dark sense of humor seen in Williamson’s past work.
Should You See It
Unless you’re a big Wes Craven and/or Kevin Williamson fan, or you’re a werewolf fan like me, you could probably skip this and be fine.