Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cursed (2005)

Reviewed By: Billy & JM

There are only two kinds of Olympic moments that people actually enjoy watching: when an underdog pulls out the performance of a lifetime, and – even better – when a frontrunner completely falls on his ass. You know you love it…it’s always an amazing moment when, at the Olympics, a frontrunner in the diving competition steps onto the platform, takes a deep breath, and dives…only to make a wrong twist and end up flopping into the water, leaving behind a painful slap and buckets of wake flying into the air.

Well, we at Tower Farm feel the same way about horror. We love it when a movie with absolutely no budget, no stars, and no studio support ends up being really good…and we really love it when a movie with a huge budget, huge stars, and major studio support ends up belly-flopping hard. And in recent horror history, no movie has quite belly-flopped like Cursed. You remember Cursed, don’t you? It’s the “werewolf project” that Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson collaborated on after Scream, leading every horror movie magazine to proclaim it was going to bring back monster movies the way their previous movie revitalized slashers. It had a cast full of big stars at the time, from Christina Ricci to Joshua Jackson to Shannon Elizabeth to singer Mya. It was a sure-fire hit…

And then it was released.

What we remember most about the Cursed release is that we never got a chance to see it in theatres…because it disappeared so fast. Which means we didn’t get to see it until it came out on home video. We, of course, prefer it this way…since the previously PG-13 movie came out on DVD as “Unrated” – which JM is always hopeful means there will be penetration of some sort. Unfortunately, the raciest this movie ever gets is a middle finger…much more on that later.

The movie follows the…umm…story of…umm…

OK, this movie is about werewolves. There are about 60 principal characters in it, too, so writing a synopsis is gonna be a little challenging. In a scene ripped right from Tom Hanks’s Big, the movie starts with some sort of carnival fortuneteller. For some reason, someone decided Portia de Rossi would be right for this part. Looking less like a gypsy than like Joan Osbourne after a bender, Portia half-assedly attempts an accent and tells Shannon Elizabeth and Mya that there’s bad luck in their future. Well…maybe she is psychic after all, since both pretty much disappeared following this movie.

Before the 5-minute mark, we’re already in our third scene, in which star Christina Ricci first appears. Christina breezes onto the screen in a sleek black suit and chattering on a cell phone, which indicates that is some sort of high-powered, important person. Unfortunately for us all, we’ll soon learn that she’s nothing but a mouthy assistant to Craig Kilborn. Yes…Craig Kilborn is in this movie. Playing himself. Christina also happens to be dating the hottest guy in town, a club-owner that every woman wants and every man wants to be. So who did the filmmakers choose to play this suave leading man? My friends, we give you Joshua Jackson…looking like he’s just done a few beer bongs:

Joshua’s club is some sort of museum/wax museum/disco/mirror maze that is apparently going to be the hottest spot in Los Angeles…even though it looks more like a tacky tourist spot that’s junking up Hollywood Boulevard. Seriously, this is the kind of place only 5th graders would want to hang out at. For Christ’s sake, one of the club’s main attractions is a replica of the walking stick used in The Wolf Man. Who do they expect to be frequenting this club?

This movie’s big star who dies early (think Janet Leigh, Drew Barrymore, etc.) is…umm…Shannon Elizabeth. What? You don’t know who she is? Well, we think she was in American Pie or something . Anyway, Shannon has the misfortune of getting ripped in half by a wolf, resulting in a hilarious scene in which the top half of her body starts trying to crawl across the screen. I’m sure Wes and Kevin thought this would be a shocking and horrifying image, but we think it’s comedy gold. Christina and her dorky little brother also happen to get scratched by the wolf, which means they’re…yep, you guessed it…CURSED!

Wes Craven pretty much has a patent on the creepy dream sequence – a requirement in his movies since tarantulas were falling into Sharon Stone’s mouth in Deadly Blessing. The dream in this one comes around the 20 minute mark, and features Christina Ricci walking around her house in a white robe and then uttering classic-Williamson dialogue including, “I’m scared, I’m terrified because all the good things keep going away,” and then biting a chunk out of Joshua Jackson’s neck…which erupts exactly like Johnny Depp’s bed in the first Elm Street – only because of the CGI technology employed this time around, it’s far more comedic.

The next scene takes us inside the Craig Kilborn studios, a place that…let’s be frank…no one cares about. Anyway, here we meet Christina’s awesome co-workers, including Kyle, a man whose role is unclear but might be as red herring/possible love interest/gay best friend. We also get Judy Greer playing the exact same character she’s played in everything else…a snippy publicist who is so comedically broad Jim Carrey may as well be playing the part. In the midst of her workday, Christina suddenly smells something good. Taking the obvious course of action, she starts sniffing the air and following her nose like Toucan Sam until she finds someone with a nosebleed in the kitchen. Gross.

In a scene humiliating for everyone involved, Mya finds Joshua Jackson completely alluring and Christina gets hit on by Scott Baio. If indeed there’s any dignity to be found in death, at least Mya is allowed to exit the picture shortly thereafter. Taking place in a completely packed yet strangely abandoned parking garage, Mya is attacked by a werewolf that looks marginally less realistic than, say, Scooby-Doo. This particular werewolf also jumps around from car to car like a kangaroo, again amazingly not attracting any attention.

Meanwhile, Christina and the dorky brother realize they have matching caluses on their hands (not entirely surprising for a high school boy)…and that this is, indeed, the Mark of the Beast. Hey, at least it’s not a 666 on the scalp. Anyway, becoming a werewolf makes the dorky brother cool, which we know because his hair is suddenly straight and fashioned into a greasy Jared Padalecki-esque shag. He also tries out for the wrestling team and, after being taunted with the fighting words “OK, limp-wrist, stay away from my groin,” ends up flipping around the team members like the Million Dollar Man on crack. Does this seem familiar? It does to us, too. This is the plot of Teen Wolf Too.

OK, are you ready for a finger blow? That’s what we get next, as Christina orally pleases Craig Kilborn’s finger for no apparent reason.

Question: When a character in a movie yells, “Reschedule my ass! It’s Scott Baio! He shouldn’t be going on after Carrot Top, anyway! He should be first!”…does Scott Baio realize he’s being laughed at by the movie-going audience? We’re just trying to figure out why Scott signed on for this movie. Oh, well, at least he’s still getting more work than the guy who played Buddy in “Charles in Charge.”

Anyway, lots of things happen to the 60+ main characters in this movie, but all that really matters is that everyone ends up at Joshua’s museum/wax museum/disco/mirror maze for the climactic battle between man and wolf. This is where the genius of Cursed really becomes apparent. It’s no surprise to anyone that Joshua Jackson turns out to be a werewolf. But…he’s not the killer wolf. Surprise, surprise…it’s Judy Greer the publicist, who grabs a hold of the overacting knob and cranks that baby up as far as it can go. Turns out that being cursed by a werewolf is like getting an STD, and Judy’s pretty pissed that a one-night-stand with Joshua left her a werewolf. Personally, we’d say it’s better than herpes…but whatever. On a positive note, we get one of the worst werewolf transitions in film history, as Judy starts talking like a man and becomes a Nintendo character.

Finally, about 30 minutes after chaos ensues at the club, the L.A.’s finest finally show up, and Christina lures the werewolf out by saying she has “bad skin” – prompting the wolf to scream “liar” and flip them all off. We’re not kidding. The wolf flips the bird:

The cops blast away the wolf with all the firepower of a full-on military attack, and unfortunately the creature then shape-shifts back into a young woman. Sorry, cops…we’re guessing a few of you are going to lose your jobs over this one. Thankfully, we the viewers get a whole other climactic battle. No, this movie’s not over yet. Turns out Joshua Jackson is evil after all, and comes back to claim Christina and kill her brother. He says something about how there’s only room for one alpha male in the wolf world…which doesn’t make much sense as last time we checked, wolves traveled in packs. Joshua makes the monumental error of blabbing out that the only way they can be saved is to kill him…which for some reason leads the dorky brother to start dancing on the ceiling a la Lionel Richie in 1986. Finally, in a move that’s never before appeared in a werewolf movie but is often seen in vampire flicks, Joshua Jackson bursts into flames upon being killed.

And then everyone laughs and we get upbeat music taking us to the credits.

As you can see, this movie is the cinematic equivalent of Tonya Harding’s shoelace breaking as she began her Olympic routine. It is extremely satisfying and incredibly stupid. Unfortunately, unlike Tonya, Cursed can’t go on to have a career in boxing. So instead we’ll give it…



  1. i hope one of those 4 1/2 fingers is the bird.

    i too wanted to see this in the theatre but missed it because it was in there one day and out the next.i love werewolf stuff and seeing how vampires are the hot topic these days i was thinking of renting this when i started reading your review. by the time i got to the last paragraph i KNOW i'm renting this one. sounds too horrible to miss.

  2. Theres no mistaking that CURSED is a terrible, terrible film, but I love every guilty moment of it. You have to appreciate the fact that Williamson used the word "cursed" in this flick as many times if not more than he used "scream" in their previous collab. I coulda guessed you guys were fans of this one, Ive probably seen it 5 times somehow =D

  3. This movie pissed me off so very hard. No freaky werewolf sex?

    Really, movie? REALLY?

  4. Ha! I don't know what pissed me off more, this one or Red Eye.

  5. 1. Mya actually has a 'career' again. She's on this seasons Dancing with The Stars. So that should be good for another 15 minutes of fame along with a genuine head scratch from the broader populace asking themselves, who the fuck is this broad?
    2. This review was epic. And awesome. And epic.
    3. Are you guys shitfaced after watching half the turdfests you subject yourselves to?
    4. That screenshot of a werewolf flipping the bird should be forever frozen in time and shared with future generations. Glorious.

  6. I never saw this movie and now I don't feel like I missed out, except missing out on an inside joke since it's a pretty exclusive group of people that actually saw it.

  7. Sorry for not responding too quickly. My computer got a... ehem... virus. Very mysterious.... Anyway... I am glad you liked the review.

    As for the werewolf sex... check out THE HOWLING 2. That is some gross and hairy werewolf sex!


  8. yeah, "CURSED" pretty much made me have to poop. I even preferred "HOWLING III: The Marsupials" over this CGI dud.