The Cursed is a new horror film set in the late 19th century and shows the return of one of the most iconic monsters in the genre: the werewolf.
If you want to know why the film still is a snooze fest, read more in our review down below.
The Cursed Weaves A Spell, But It May Be Laced With Sedative
Sean Ellis’ The Cursed celebrated its premiere at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and is now, after a full year run of more festival appearances, about to be officially released. 5 years after Ellis’ last film, Anthropoid (starring Peaky Blinders‘ Cillian Murphy), he returns with the second horror film in his career and while it has a lot to admire, it never really felt captivating or scary at all.
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After the brutal landlord Baron Seamus Laurent (Alistair Petrie) slaughtered a Roma clan, an ancient curse gets released on him, his family and his village. In the following days, the townspeople are plagued by nightmares, Seamus’s son Edward (Max Mackintosh) goes missing, and a boy is found murdered. While the townspeople expect a wild animal to be the cause, visiting pathologist John McBride (Boyd Holbrook) warns of something more sinister, which is lurking in the shadows and waiting to strike again.
The film starts off captivatingly enough, with a big war sequence playing out as the camera slowly moves over a trench where soldiers are hiding in the smoke from gunfire. After a big machine guns starts firing at them, the film cuts to the lazaret in which the horror is supposed to find its beginning. This sequence perfectly captures the strengths and weaknesses of Sean Ellis’s The Cursed: while it’s very well shot and crafted, it simply fails to keep the viewer interested at times.
My eyes were glued to the screen during the opening sequence, but as soon as we cut to the lazaret, they immediately glazed over as the film left a lot of the excitement behind. This is a problem that we run into throughout the entire film. There are many great standalone scenes that always feel uncomplete as the cut happens right at the climax.
Perhaps one reason why is the budget. But there is no denying that the film does a lot with its budget and really surprised me with what a small horror film is able to show audiences on screen. For example, the brutal slaughter of the Roma clan is filmed in a wide long shot, with the camera standing a good bit away and letting audiences see the distraction in one take. That was a really impressive scene and definitely something I didn’t expect to see in this film.
But when we look at the horror element, the budget limitations become clear. Almost every scene is covered in a moody and atmospheric fog and, while this makes for some really great-looking shots due to the work behind the camera, you soon realize why that is. At no point in the film do you have a clear view of the beast. It is always just the head or shoulder, and even the VFX just doesn’t hold up. It always takes you a bit out of the film and, when the supposedly horrifying creature emerges, it looks like it’s coming from a videogame cutscene.
The film’s screenplay was at no point able to hold up to the atmospheric greatness of The Cursed. While cinematographer Sean Ellis was able to employ a great deal of visual language, writer Sean Ellis didn’t achieve the same thing with his screenplay. I didn’t care about a single character, as all of them are weakly written and developed. The slow and repetitive nature of the screenplay also doesn’t help to make The Cursed any more engaging – let alone scary.
The Cursed is a great-looking, but ultimately uninspired horror tale that never really gets captivating nor scary. While I admired its visuals, there was a lot that it was lacking in the story department that took away from the film’s bite.
LD Entertainment will release THE CURSED in theaters on February 18th, 2022.
Written and Directed by Sean Ellis
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Kelly Reilly, Alistair Petrie
A once-peaceful remote country village is under attack—but by who or what, no one knows. Villagers spread rumors of a cursed land, supernatural forces, and even demonic creatures, as the disappearances and killings continue. Pathologist John McBride arrives to investigate the danger, only to discover something much deeper and more sinister than he ever could have imagined.
What do you guys think? Are you planning to watch it? Let’s discuss everything in the comments down below and on our social media.
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