Cursed (2005)

Consider this movie a precursor to next week’s deep dive into the horror films of the 2000’s. It’s an example of the creative voices of that era — Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson — whose Scream would lead to a renaissance of horror on screens — and Bob and Harvey Weinstein, whose heavy-handed production often led to films turning into hellish battles.

For example, there’s an entirely different cut of this movie, with two different versions of the werewolves by Rick Baker and KNB replaced with CGI and entire characters — Omar Epps, Skeet Ulrich, Mandy Moore, Heather Langenkamp, Illeana Douglas, Scott Foley, Robert Forster and Corey Feldman are all pretty much exorcised in the cut that ended up being released — being excluded.

The Weinsteins — beyond the numerous scandals — ruined plenty of genre films despite Dimension Films being a studio known for their release. Craven also had a career marked with movies that were taken over by studios and chopped up against his will.

Cursed would be the perfect storm of these two groups working together.

Star Jesse Eisenberg would tell Bloody Disgusting that there were so many reshoots — Judy Greer has said that it felt like they shot the movies for seven years — that they could have made four movies in the time and energy that it took to make this movie. These reshoots took the film from an R-rated film to a more PG-13 friendly version, but along the way, the film’s narrative cohesion was destroyed.

So what’s it all about? It all begins with Mya and Shannon Elizabeth’s characters getting a dark fortune from a gypsy, which comes true moments later. After a car crash with Eisenberg and Christina Ricci’s characters, a wolf comes out of nowhere and devours Elizabeth. As for Mya, she’s soon killed after flirting with Ricci’s boyfriend at a party.

The big reveal of all of this is that said boyfriend — Jake, played by Joshua Jackson — has passed on the curse of the werewolf through sexual contact, turning all of his one-night stands into monsters. The film also claims that the transfer of blood can make one a werewolf as well, which explains how the dog Zipper can become a beast.

I feel like every time I talk about a Wes Craven movie post-Freddy I have to include the phrases studio interference, reshoots, directorial cut and lost footage. You’d think after his successes — The Last House on the LeftThe Hills Have EyesA Nightmare on Elm StreetScream — he’d be allowed to do whatever he wanted. Instead, we have movies like Deadly Friend and this one, where scripts were tossed out and studio interference led to movies that tarnished his name above the film.

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