Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 135: Cursed (2005)

PG-13, 1 hr. 20 min.  Directed by: Wes Craven.  Release Date: February 25, 2005.  DVD Release Date: June 21, 2005.

People hate this movie.  I’ve never been able to figure out entirely why.  By far, it’s not the best movie ever, but I’ve always found it a joy to watch.  It feels like Craven and Kevin Williamson worked to create a comedic-horror piece with a werewolf theme, like Scream with fur.  It also feels like the powers that be at the studios interfered with that vision… because the result ends up being too mish-mashed.  There are obvious attempts at comedy throughout the film.  In fact, the entire final scene at Joshua Jackson’s club is a mix of horror images with slapstick to form something not unlike the best result of a Williamson-Craven pairing: the aforementioned Scream.  But the movie can’t seem to decide how seriously it’s going to take itself.  Ever.  There are moments that are straight out of the werewolf horror film history, then you turn a story corner and we’re watching werewolves in training talk about their maker’s fat thighs or Jesse Eisenberg’s sparing a few seconds in an emergency to check out Shannon Elizabeth’s chest while she hangs upside down.  Understandable, but still.  Muddled is a good word to describe Cursed.

One of my favorite parts of this movie is the interplay between the various cast members, many of whom have somewhat mixed success in their chosen profession, regardless of what their box office takes are.  This is my favorite Jesse Eisenberg movie to date, although it’s also his worst performance ever.  I’m glad that he’s gotten better over the years and I suspect if he manages to survive aging out of his traditional computer geek role, he’ll have a decent career.  I also didn’t hate Joshua Jackson, but admittedly, he had a short part, which must have helped.  Judy Greer was funny, but her role in this movie was a bit too much like her role in Jawbreakers for my taste.  I didn’t love Christina Ricci in this, which is unusual, because I’ve enjoyed most of her work, and especially since this is the last part she plays where appears to be fresh-faced.  After this, everything seems to get all Black Snake Moan and uncomfortable.

I don’t expect horror movies to be “good” movies, which is the largest single complaint I saw from sites like Flixster and Netflix.   I’m looking for entertainment, pure and simple.  If I want education or substance, I’m probably going to be watching something like Pride & Prejudice or some documentary.  When the word “werewolf” enters the film description I’m only looking for a few things:  (1) a good werewolf mythology, even if it’s unfamiliar, and a lack of telepathy, (2) an awesome transition from human to whatever form the werewolf takes and an even better final form, (3) a few tense moments, and (4) some blood.  I don’t expect to hear about the movie again when it comes time for the Academy Awards… although I guess An American Werewolf in London did take home an Oscar.  In that, I think Cursed delivers most of these, with the notable exception of the final man-wolf form, which kind of sucks.  The facial features on their wolfmen are pretty cool, but the rest seems awkward.  I also don’t like how one of the werewolves’ hair matches their dye job and not their actual hair color.  Sometimes the details make the movie, and the details in this one were usually performed in an awkward, haphazard style that didn’t help them any.