Cursed (2005)

Director: Wes Craven
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Cast: Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, Joshua Jackson, Judy Greer, Portia de Rossi, Shannon Elizabeth, Mya, Milo Ventimiglia, Nick Offerman, Scott Baio, Lance Bass, Derek Mears
Seen on: 10.10.2021

Content Note: (kinda critical treatment of) homomisia

Ellie (Christina Ricci) and her brother Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg) have been a tight team ever since their parents died. But after a car accident in the woods, where they appear to have hit something, things change for them. Or rather, they themselves change. Jimmy is convinced that they are werewolves now, which Ellie can do nothing but scoff at. And yet, there is something to his theory. It’s getting harder and harder to ignore in any case – and since Ellie has no interest in living her life as a werewolf, something needs to be done.

Cursed is okay. I have seen worse films, but I have also seen much better. To be honest, the most fun I had was to see everybody who pops up in the film as I wasn’t aware of the cast before seeing it.

The film poster showing an almost black and white image of Ellie's (Christina Ricci) face. Her right eye is glowing red, her left eye can't be seen as the image is torn as if scratched by a giant claw.

Cursed is watchable, but it sits in a weird spot just before it actually becomes horror. This unmoored feeling doesn’t help the film at all (from what I gathered, it wasn’t the plan and the film was re-cut to make it PG-13). It never gets its feet on the ground, and thus we never get to feel the emotional weight that the film would have needed to go beyond, basically, white noise.

What breaks through the film’s white noise feeling is the surprises (from today’s perspective at least) in the cast. From Milo Ventimiglia to Nick Offerman there are quite a few familiar faces that I was pleasantly surprised to see. Though not necessarily in the roles they play, especially Ventimiglia’s Bo is a homomisic jock who constantly insults Jimmy by calling him gay. Jimmy strikes back suggesting that Bo himself is gay – until Bo actually comes out to him. It’s a tired re-hashing of armchair psychology that suggests that gay people are to blame themselves for homomisia that just isn’t necessary. The film’s saving grace here is that it is the beginning of a friendship between Jimmy and Bo.

Ellie (Christina Ricci) holding a protective hand in front of Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg) whose face is scratched.

The film has some potentially interesting characters, but none of the interesting seedlings actually grow and take root, leaving the characters, and with them the story, strangely bland. It would have been interesting to take a deep-dive into the relationship between Ellie and her boyfriend Jake (Joshua Jackson), but while the film hints at a couple of layers, it never does anything with them.

Thus Cursed remains the kind of film that you can easily put on in the background while you’re actually doing something else. The werwolf effects certainly aren’t worth paying attention to the screen, but neither are the characters. There are a couple of fun moments, but overall it’s a film that left me shrugging and ready to forget it the minute it was over.

Jake (Joshua Jackson) and Ellie (Christina Ricci) in fighting poses with blood on them.

Summarizing: if you got too much time on your hands.

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