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Movie Review

Brother and sister Jimmy and Ellie are doing the best they can at life after their parents have died. Jimmy is trying to dodge the bullies at high school; Ellie books guests for a television talk show.

Driving home late one night, their car strikes some sort of animal, which triggers a two-car wreck. Shaken but basically unhurt, Ellie and Jimmy check on the driver of the other car. Just as they’re freeing her from the wreckage, the beast they hit attacks, killing the woman and slashing and clawing the siblings.

Soon they notice something different about themselves—something they can’t quite put a finger on. Doing some sleuthing, Jimmy determines that they’d been attacked by a werewolf. He also learns that the only way to keep from turning into werewolves themselves is to find the source of the curse and kill it before midnight of the next full moon.

Positive Elements

Slim pickings. Jimmy and Ellie put themselves in danger to help each another.

Spiritual Content

A sign of carrying the werewolf curse is a pentagram burned into the flesh on one’s hand and, less visibly, on the forehead. Jimmy runs across quite a bit of satanic imagery while researching the werewolves. Two girls consult a psychic palm reader, who warns them that they face a terrible curse. In a later scene, that same psychic says, “I got the gift [of psychic ability] from my parents.” The TV talk show host plans to air an episode about séances.

Sexual Content

Two brief flashes or rear male and female nudity. Several female characters are fond of low-cut blouses and tank tops. A man suggestively puts his hand on Ellie’s thigh. (She brushes him off.) As Jimmy conducts werewolf research on the Internet, Ellie teases, “Why can’t you just download porn like other teenage boys?”

Jimmy is taunted and accused of being homosexual; he’s frequently called a “homo” and said to be from “fag town.” (It’s clear he’s really interested in girls, particularly the girlfriend of a big man on campus.) A teen boy, misreading Jimmy’s body language, tries to kiss him, saying, “I’m gay. I just can’t keep it in anymore.”

One symptom of the incipient curse is heightened sexual attractiveness, and several characters find themselves drawn to Jimmy and Ellie for reasons they can’t quite state. (Jimmy speculates for a moment that maybe being a werewolf can’t be all bad.) Ellie talks about crawling in bed with a guy, and jokes that it would be fun to be confined with him in a medieval torture instrument called an iron maiden.

Late in the film we learn that the werewolf curse can be passed on sexually ("There’s no such thing as safe sex with a werewolf. All I got was hot sex and a curse”).

Violent Content

A werewolf frequently picks up people and flings them across the room or smashes them into the ceiling. In a nightmare sequence, Ellie turns into a werewolf and sinks her fangs into a man’s neck. An extended sequence of a werewolf stalking a woman through a parking garage is quite intense.

Police shoot a werewolf in the head, splattering its brains across the floor. A werewolf’s flesh begins to smoke and burn any time it comes in contact with something made of silver. Ellie stabs a werewolf in the heart with a sterling silver pie cutter. (Hey, she couldn’t find a silver bullet!) She then uses a garden spade to decapitate the creature.

A once docile dog bares its fangs and turns vicious. A car tumbles down a ravine after crashing head-on into another car. A wrestler is body-slammed during an impromptu match. Ellie jabs her car keys into a man’s throat.

Crude or Profane Language

One (hard to decipher) use of the f-word. About 10 uses of the s-word and a few instances of “a--” and “d--n.” God’s name is abused twice, Jesus’ once. A boy is called a “d--kwad.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

A woman is mockingly told to lay off the crack pipe. Patrons of a nightclub hold alcoholic beverages.

Other Negative Elements

In a desperate attempt at laughs, the filmmakers have the werewolf make an obscene gesture. Ellie, her physical senses heightened by the curse, finds herself attracted to an alluring smell at the office. She tracks it to the lunchroom, where it turns out to be the blood from a woman’s nosebleed.

Conclusion

“Beware the moon!” It's a line spoken in the very first minute of the film. You’d think the filmmakers would at least try to hide such lame writing deeper in the story—like maybe the second minute.

Cursed is an unholy mess in more ways than one. It was drastically rewritten and large portions of it reshot after they’d wrapped up principal photography in the summer of 2003. (Mandy Moore played a key character in the first version, but because she was unavailable for the new sequences, she was written out and replaced with Portia de Rossi. Other characters, such as Corey Feldman’s, were completely eliminated from the revised version.) It’s hard to see where the “improvements” were made.

For a Wes Craven horror outing, this film is relatively restrained in the violence department, but his overlay of illicit sexuality and the occult on a timeworn werewolf franchise simply makes it too much to bear. Beware, indeed!

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

PG-13

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Christina Ricci as Ellie; Jesse Eisenberg as Jimmy; Shannon Elizabeth as Becky; Joshua Jackson as Jake; Kristina Anapau as Brooke; Mya as Jenny; Portia de Rossi as Zela

Distributor

Dimension Films

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Tom Neven

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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