THE CURSED (2021)
Starring Boyd Holbrook, Kelly Reilly, Alistair Petrie, Roxane Duran, Áine Rose Daly, Nigel Betts, Stuart Bowman, Simon Kunz, Amelia Crouch, Max Mackintosh, Tommy Rodger, Millie Kiss, Tom Sweet, Romy Ellis, Parker Ellis, Gary Oliver, Richard Cunningham, Pascale Becouze, Sean Mahon, Mish Boyko, Paul Bandey, Alun Raglan, Oisín Stack and Florie Blight.
Screenplay by Sean Ellis.
Directed by Sean Ellis.
Distributed by LD Entertainment. 113 minutes. Rated R.
It’s not easy to do something new with the old tropes of horror, but still they keep trying.
Take The Cursed – a horror looking back on a small 19th century French village being terrorized by a series of violent killings. They add in lots of little touches to give spice to the situation – gypsies, curses, human scarecrows, evil sterling silver dentures and a flash forward to the trenches of World War I – but essentially this is just an old-fashioned werewolf film.
Which is not a bad thing in itself. There is a reason that the werewolf stories have fascinated for so many generations.
The Cursed does some variations on the theme of werewolves. Simply take the monsters themselves. It’s not a deal where the people start growing hair and howling at the moon – in fact, these creatures are mostly hairless. They are not slaves of the full moon – in fact that part of werewolf lore seems to have been jettisoned.
It seems that the creatures don’t so much get transformed from the humans so much as literally engulf the people. Honestly, we are never shown anyone turning back to human except twice, and to say they are simply changed back is putting it very politely. And the transformation starts when someone tries on those cursed silver teeth, which seem to fuse with the person to change them into the slobbering murderous beast.
However, the basics are still there – the insensate evil lurking in the dark, the violent attacks, the village politics, the repressed era and the skewed family dynamics. The Cursed does a good job in making something traditional feel fresh.
The evil is unleashed when an aristocratic landowner, Seamus Laurent (Alistair Petrie), has his employees massacre a band of gypsies who lay claim (a legitimate claim, it turns out) to a section of his land. This horrific act leads Laurent to be cursed, a curse which is embedded in a cast of pure silver fangs. Years pass with no changes, but when a young boy finds the fangs, he starts the violent spiral of death and transformation. Suddenly not only are Laurent and his wife (Kelly Reilly) and kids (Amelia Crouch and Max Mackintosh) at risk, but so is the whole community. (For a film that is supposed to take place in France, the entire cast is very Anglo and mostly speaks in a British-accented English.)
Boyd Holbrook plays John McBride, an early pathologist who is tasked with finding the creatures which are causing the deaths.
The Cursed is occasionally disturbingly violent, but it is also a very skilled fright film. It may not become your favorite werewolf film (for me, that is still An American Werewolf in London), but it will likely become a bit of a cult choice for fans of the genre.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2022 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: February 18, 2022.