BluRay/DVD Reviews

CURSED

By • Jun 21st, 2005 •

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(Dimension Home Video)
Unrated Version / 99 minutes / 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio, enhanced for 16X9 monitors

Here’s one that was reviled by the critics, the public, even its director, who all but disowned it in the pages of Fangoria. What everyone failed to mention was how valiantly Christina Ricci strove to save it with that wonderfully gifted face of hers. Silent expressions and unexpected reactions abound – she empties several cartridges of visual emotions into the lens, and is a constant delight to watch.

As for the rest – Jesse Eisenberg is clever, improvisational, and has an arc. Having the school nerd become a werewolf is a concept loaded with possibilities. He, and his sister, become stronger, more aggressive, and sexier (this works better with him than with Ricci, who is docile but plenty sexy from the outset), but for reasons possibly of studio timidity, neither of them ever goes through a complete lycanthropic transformation. The family retriever does however, and that’s a highlight.

Rick Baker, who designed the werewolf, took his money and ran. Even in the Unrated version, two minutes longer, probably highlighting the effects and gore, there’s nothing about his work here that we haven’t seen before. Robert McLachlan’s cinematography is crisp and beautiful. The CGI werewolf effects feel fake. And the third act is the weakest of the three, which of course isn’t a good way to leave moviegoers feeling satisfied.

Wes Craven, who has enjoyed doing commentary tracks often in the past, makes no such appearance here. His absence – while make-up specialist Greg Nicotero provides a talk for select scenes – sure seems like an indicator of his displeasure with Miramax’s interference. Given that, his appearance on the ‘Project Greenlight’ show this past season, filmed after CURSED was completed, in which he had to put up with Miramax’s toadies, was a commentary of a different kind, and one too amusing and ironic to miss.

DOUBLE BILL: Probably AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON would work, being a successfully funny/scary film, and it would inform CURSED by showcasing Rick Baker’s most standard-setting work. I don’t think I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF is out yet, is it? Michael Landon was the titular character in that 50s no-budgeter.


Special Features:
Making of Doc.
Creature Editing 101.
Selected scenes with Commentary by Special Effects Makeup Supervisor Gerg Nicotero and Actor Derek Mears.


Cast:
With Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg.

Crew:
Directed by Wes Craven. Screenplay by Kevin Williamson. Producer – Marianne Maddalena. Cinematography – Robert McLachlan.

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