Monday, January 4, 2010

'Cursed' is a fine mix of old and new horror sensibilities

Cursed (2007)
Starring: Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, Mya, Joshua Jackson, Shannon Elizabeth, Portia de Rossi, and Christina Anapau
Director: Wes Craven
Steve's Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Christina Ricci stars as a young TV producer who finds her inner beast unleashed after she and her brother are bit by a werewolf. Put "Cursed" next to also-rans like "Boogeyman" and "The Grudge," and it's more clear than ever that Wes Craven remains the king of horror flicks featuring Beautiful People Vs. The Monsters.

"Cursed" is at once a by-the-numbers werewolf flick (complete with pure-hearted victims trying to fight the curse and a storyline that invites the viewers to guess which of the supporting characters is the monster) and a clever, engaging film that keeps the viewers guessing right up to the end. The film is full of elements so well used they've become cliches, but it embraces them in a way that's both respectful of all the films that have gone before and light-hearted. "Cursed" moves from suspenseful, to funny, to scary with ease, and folks who enjoy good horror movies will love this one.

(I spend a lot of time railing against films that don't bring anything new to their genres, but "Cursed" puts all the old elements together is such a graceful and fun fashion that I can't mount any complaints. Craven clearly knew he was making a cliched movie, and he took full advantage of that fact. If more directors and script writers would take that approach, maybe their retreads would come together more effectively.)

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