Cursed (2005 film)
Cursed is a 2005 American-German werewolf body horror film directed by Wes Craven and written by screenwriter Kevin Williamson, who both collaborated on Scream. The film stars Christina Ricci and Jesse Eisenberg as two estranged siblings attacked by a werewolf loose in Los Angeles.
|Directed by||Wes Craven|
|Produced by||Kevin Williamson|
|Written by||Kevin Williamson|
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
|Edited by||Patrick Lussier|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
99 minutes (Unrated cut)
Originally planned for 2003, the film is a notable example of development hell, taking over two more years to be made than originally planned, during which producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein kept asking for reshoots and changes to the plot, re-edited the movie to give a PG-13 rating rather than the original intended R-rating, and fired legendary makeup artist Rick Baker to replace the werewolves he had created with computer-generated ones. The film was a box-office failure and was panned by critics; Craven himself was very displeased with the final result.
On a seaside pier in Los Angeles, friends Jenny Tate and Becky Morton decide to get their fortune told by Zela. Zela foretells that they will suffer a horrible fate, but they don't believe her and walk away disgusted.
That night, 16-year-old high-schooler Jimmy Myers is picked up on Mulholland Drive by his 24-year-old sister Ellie, who has just returned from visiting her boyfriend, Jake Taylor. Jimmy had a run-in with some bullies and his crush, Brooke. Driving home, Jimmy and Ellie collide with an animal and another car. They attempt to rescue the other driver, Becky Morton, but an unseen creature slashes the siblings before it drags Becky off and rips her in half. When interviewed by police, despite Jimmy's belief that it was a wolf or dog-type animal, the official report credits it to a bear or cougar.
The next day at work, Ellie finds herself attracted to the scent of a coworkers blood. But she dismisses it.
At a party, Jenny interrupts a conversation between Ellie and Jake. Annoyed that Jenny is flirting with Jake, Ellie leaves the party early. Soon after this Jenny heads down to the parking garage where she is chased and killed by a werewolf. Zela's predictions for both Jenny and Becky have come to pass.
Jimmy does research about wolves in California and starts to believe that the creature was a werewolf, sharing his thoughts with a disbelieving Ellie. To ease Jimmy's concerns she touches a silver picture frame without getting burned.
Jimmy is becoming much stronger and more aggressive, as shown when a bully named Bo coerces him to join the wrestling team. He easily defeats three wrestlers, including Bo, and calls Bo out for constantly making gay jokes towards him, saying that Bo himself is repressing his own homosexuality.
Ellie starts to believe the werewolf hypothesis when she meets Zela, who warns about the effect the coming full moon will have. Jimmy proves they have been cursed when he holds a silver cake server and gets burned, discovering that the picture frame Ellie touched earlier was only stainless steel. Their dog, Zipper, bites Jimmy, tastes his blood, becomes a lycanthropoid monster, and goes on a rampage. Realizing what's happening, Jimmy goes to warn Ellie with Bo, who showed up at their house to confess that he is gay and has feelings for Jimmy; Bo is flatly rejected by Jimmy who believes the attraction to be his werewolf pheromones, but Bo still helps Jimmy.
Ellie has deduced that Jake is a werewolf and he confirms it. However, he reveals that he didn't attack her and Jimmy as he was born a werewolf and can control his transformations. When a fourth werewolf attacks them, Bo and Jimmy try to help, but Bo is knocked out. The new werewolf turns back into Joanie, who was cursed after a one-night stand with Jake. She now wants revenge by killing all of the other girls Jake dates. When Jake offers to let Joanie kill him to protect Ellie, she refuses as she knows killing him would break her curse. After knocking him out she turns into her werewolf form and starts attacking Ellie and Jimmy. The siblings fight her, and when the police arrive, the two draw her out by insulting her. The police open fire, apparently killing her in werewolf form, but she rises again as her head and heart are still connected. A policeman shoots her in the head, finally killing her. Bo is okay, but Jake has disappeared.
Jimmy and Ellie return to a wrecked home. As Jimmy works to restore the power, Jake arrives. He reveals that since Joanie's curse was caused by him, the only way to cure it is to kill him, and that he wants to kill Jimmy (due to his alpha male instinct) and have Ellie live forever by his side. She and Jake fight, but her werewolf form emerges sporadically while he has complete control over his, dominating the fight. Werewolf Jimmy joins in, climbing across the ceiling and biting Jake, allowing Ellie to stab and badly injure Jake with the silver cake server. Ellie decapitates Jake with a shovel and breaks the curse on the two siblings (and Zipper). They watch as Jake's body bursts into flames.
Bo, Brooke, and Zipper arrive at the house. Bo and Jimmy are now friends; Jimmy kisses Brooke and walks her home along with Bo. Ellie is stuck with the clean-up of the messy house.
- Christina Ricci as Ellie Myers
- Jesse Eisenberg as Jimmy Myers
- Joshua Jackson as Jake Taylor
- Judy Greer as Joanie
- Milo Ventimiglia as Bo
- Kristina Anapau as Brooke
- Portia de Rossi as Zela
- Shannon Elizabeth as Becky Morton
- Mýa as Jenny Tate
- Michael Rosenbaum as Kyle
- Eric Ladin as Louie
- Michelle Krusiec as Nosebleed Co-Worker
- Nick Offerman as Police Officer
- Derek Mears as Werewolf
- Scott Baio as himself
- Craig Kilborn as himself
- Lance Bass as himself
- Bowling for Soup as themselves
- Solar as Zipper, Ellie and Jimmy's dog
The original script was written in August 2000. Dimension co-founder Bob Weinstein announced in October 2002 that Cursed would "reinvent the werewolf genre," and Wes Craven would direct, with the movie being released around August 2003.
Christina Ricci, Skeet Ulrich, and Jesse Eisenberg were cast as the three leads. The original plotline had three strangers brought together by a car accident in the Hollywood Hills and the subsequent attack of a werewolf. The three characters were named Ellie Hudson, Vince Winston, and Jimmy Myers. With a budget of $38 million, Cursed commenced shooting in March 2003 in Los Angeles. The set used for the high school is Torrance High School, the same used for Sunnydale High on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and West Beverly High on Beverly Hills, 90210 and its spin-off 90210. Filming also occurred at Verdugo Hills High School. Special effects were shot in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
However, the film soon suffered numerous production and script issues and was postponed for over a year. While production was stalled, several cast members had to be replaced due to scheduling conflicts with other films. When the movie was rewritten and reshot, many cast members had been cut entirely, including Skeet Ulrich, Mandy Moore, Omar Epps, Illeana Douglas, Heather Langenkamp, Scott Foley, Robert Forster, and Corey Feldman. Some of them had even filmed scenes which were scrapped by director Wes Craven. In the film, Ellie works among the crew of The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, with Kilborn making a cameo appearance and Scott Baio, as himself, being booked to appear on the show. But by the time the film was released in February 2005, Kilborn had left the show and had been replaced with Craig Ferguson.
Only about 90% of the original version was filmed, leaving the original ending unfilmed. Although, while filming the original version, producer Bob Weinstein told Wes Craven he was happy with the film, he later changed his opinion and ordered for the movie to be reshot with a new plot. After massive reshoots which included filming a new ending, Weinstein told Craven he didn't like the new ending, leading to another ending where Jake attacks Ellie and Jimmy in their home, despite some incoherence with the rest of the film.
Rick Baker did the werewolf effects for the original version of the film, but once Bob Weinstein and Miramax ordered reshoots, all the scenes with Baker's effects were deleted and replaced by KNB.
In the fall of 2004, Dimension cut the film to a PG-13 rating instead of the planned R rating. Speaking to the New York Post, Wes Craven commented, "The contract called for us to make an R-rated film. We did. It was a very difficult process. Then it was basically taken away from us and cut to PG-13 and ruined. It was two years of very difficult work and almost 100 days of shooting of various versions. Then at the very end, it was chopped up and the studio thought they could make more with a PG-13 movie, and trashed it ... I thought it was completely disrespectful, and it hurt them too, and it was like they shot themselves in the foot with a shotgun."
Jenny's death scene in the elevator was originally much gorier, her dead body shown with her belly ripped apart, but not even the R-rated DVD version included this scene. A picture of her mutilated body was, however, shown in a Fangoria article published before the film's release covering the infamously troubled production.
In 2008, Wes Craven was quoted saying; "... the Cursed experience was so screwed up. I mean, that went on for two-and-a-half years of my life for a film that wasn't anything close to what it should have been. And another film that I was about to shoot having the plug pulled – Pulse – so it was like, I did learn from the Cursed experience not to do something for money. They said, 'We know you want to do another film, we'll pay you double.' And we were 10 days from shooting, and I said fine. But I ended up working two-and-a-half years for double my fee, but I could have done two-and-a-half movies, and done movies that were out there making money. In general, I think it's not worth it and part of the reason my phone hasn't rung is that that story is pretty well known."
In 2014, costar Judy Greer spoke of the film in an interview: "I don't know why that movie got so fucked up. I don't understand it. I thought the script was fine. Honest to god, I didn't get the big deal. I don't know who kept making them fuck with it. Then we shot the movie for, like, seven years. I think they said we had four movies worth of footage. It was so fun, but so weird. I don't get it. I couldn't figure it out."
In 2018, Christina Ricci also spoke briefly about the film in an interview: "It was one of those studio movies that just got horribly screwed up."
In 2019, Jesse Eisenberg also give his thoughts about the troubled production and the movie: "The first movie was more interesting and provocative. I don’t know why it wasn’t working. Now that we know the behind-the-scenes of the Weinstein company, it makes sense as to why it was so chaotic." About the troubled production he said: "They filmed 90% of the bigger budget version…the first movie was this very splashy thing. The second version was definitely cutting corners in a lot of different ways. And the plot? I thought it was so stupid. I thought the plot was so cliché. They made us brother and sister? The things that they kept [from the original film] were little snippets. Like a car rolling down a hill. They kept that shot.”
Eisenberg also talks about the reshoots: "The crazy part is that after we filmed the whole second version of the film, we had to go back for a third re-shoot which lasted about 20 days. That’s like the length of an independent movie. And then we had to go back a fourth time for like 10 days and they made shirts that said Cursed 4: Back for More.”
The taglines include "What doesn't kill you can make you stronger", "Have you ever felt like you're not human anymore?" and "The Evolution of the Species."
Several film posters were released, some for abroad, such as the Swedish poster with the tagline "Vem kan du lita på vif fullmåne?" ("Whom can you trust during the full Moon?"); the unrated version's poster has a red color palette, rather than the standard American. A second American poster gives the title as Wes Craven's Cursed with the tagline "Living comes at a price."
|Music from and Inspired by Cursed|
|Compilation album by |
|Released||February 25, 2005|
|Genre||Alternative rock, Electronica|
|1.||"Li'l Red Riding Hood"||Bowling for Soup||2:30|
|2.||"Better Now"||Collective Soul||3:10|
|3.||"Are You Ready"||Three Days Grace||2:46|
|4.||"You'll Never Catch Me"||Steve Harwell||3:20|
|5.||"Stadium Parking Lot"||Apollo 440||3:51|
|6.||"Fine Without You" (Carmen Rizzo/Jed Smith Indian Summer Remix)||Alkaline Trio||4:52|
|7.||"Spirits" (featuring Saffron)||Junkie XL||4:40|
|8.||"This Is a Forgery"||Dashboard Confessional||3:37|
|9.||"Still Need Your Love"||Reno||3:26|
|10.||"If You Don't Jump (You Are English)"||GusGus||4:59|
|11.||"Bound Too Long" (Hyper Remix)||The Crystal Method||4:59|
|12.||"Freaks Come Out at Night" (Carmen Rizzo "Nocturnal" Remix)||Whodini||4:29|
|14.||"Let Me Out"||MBD||3:42|
|15.||"On the Edge of the World"||Balligomingo||3:23|
|16.||"Cursed Suite"||Marco Beltrami||5:35|
|17.||"After All" (featuring Jaël)||Delerium||4:51|
|18.||"Silent Engagement"||Q South||3:28|
In the United States, the film was originally to be released as an R-rated film with graphic violent scenes. However, the studio wished to have a more marketable PG-13 rating, and the film was edited and released as a PG-13 film. In Canada, the uncut version of the film was released theatrically and received a 14A in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, a 14 in the Maritimes (after appeal) and a 13+ in Quebec. In British Columbia, the film was given an 18A and, after an unsuccessful appeal, the edited US version was submitted, 14A-rated, and released in British Columbia.
When released on DVD in the US on June 21, 2005, two versions were available: the original theatrical version (rated PG-13; 97 min.), and also an unrated version (99 min.) which contains the footage cut to obtain a PG-13 rating and runs approximately 2 minutes longer than the original release. The film received its Blu-ray release on September 11, 2012, in a double feature with another Wes Craven film, They (2002). The disc only contains the theatrical cut.
In Canada, Alliance Atlantis released the unrated (marketed as 'Uncensored') version only on DVD (as opposed to Dimension Home Video in the US) and the DVD cover was changed to match the original theatrical poster.
The film was largely panned by critics, audiences, and Craven alike. It currently has a 17% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 96 reviews, with an average score of 3.47/10. The site consensus reads: "A predictable plot and cheesy special effects make Cursed a less-than-scary experience." Metacritic reports a score of 31/100 based on 21 critics, indicating "Generally unfavorable reviews".
The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Cursed is a third-rate effort, with a weak script, cheap-looking effects and no genuine frights." Film Threat stated, "Not that it doesn't make movie history. Until this past Friday, the worst werewolf film ever made was, hairy hands down, Mike Nichols' Wolf. Cursed now assumes that dubious distinction and someone is going to have to try very hard to wrestle it away."
Rafe Telsch of Cinema Blend, granting the movie 2 out of 5 stars, felt that "Cursed isn't a bad film, and actually takes a unique approach to modern day genre movies by styling itself as an older one... The film is a fun little romp in the werewolf world, although Cursed never really sets any rules for the creatures themselves, leaving itself open to keep cute faces like Ricci's uncovered by makeup, but leaving the audience unsatisfied that there aren't really many werewolves in this werewolf movie."
Cursed opened theatrically on February 25, 2005, grossing $19,297,522 at the North American box office and $10,324,200 internationally for a total worldwide gross of $29,621,722 against a $38 million budget, making the film a box office bomb.
On October 30, 2018, former Dimension COO Cary Blanat revealed in an interview with Bloody Disgusting that the original footage still exists, which inspired Twitter users calling for Craven's cut using the hashtag #ReleaseTheCravenCut, with Bloody Disgusting calling it the most anticipated horror movie director's cut.
- "CURSED (15)". British Board of Film Classification. March 7, 2005. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
- Cursed at Box Office Mojo
- Thurman, Trace (October 16, 2019). "[Interview] Jesse Eisenberg Recalls the Troubled Production of Wes Craven's Cursed". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
- "Wes Craven Talks YEAH! and His Untold Stories - CraveOnline". Craveonline.com. March 18, 2013. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
- "Rick Baker's "Judy Greer Werewolf" From Wes Craven's 'Cursed' - Bloody Disgusting". bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
- "A Silver Bullet In the Foot". Thisdistractedglobe.com. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
- "Wes Craven talks to Capone about 25/8, remakes, and the 'Cursed' experience of revisting old..." Aintitcool.com. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
- Miramax (2005). "Cursed - Bad Dog". Miramax. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
Jimmy's dog Zipper develops a condition no veteranarian can cure.
- "VHHS On Location! Feature Films". Lausd.k12.ca.us. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
- "Photo by marcobeltrami". Photobucket. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
- "How Judy Greer Became Hollywood's Most In-Demand Best Friend". Buzzfeed.com. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
- CineMaterial. "Cursed 2005 US movie poster". Dimension Films / Miramax Films. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- Loftus, Johnny. "Review of Cursed - Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
- Reconsideration Document for Cursed Archived October 20, 2006, at the Wayback Machine - British Columbia Film Classification Office
- "Cursed (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
- "Cursed Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
- "Craven 'Cursed' by predictability in werewolf tale". Sfgate.com. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
- "Reviews". Filmthreat.com. Retrieved September 2, 2017.
- Telsch, Rafe. "Cursed". Cinema Blend. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- Topel, Fred (October 30, 2018). "Former Dimension Exec Says the First Cut of Wes Craven's 'Cursed' Still Exists and Should Be Released [Exclusive]". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
- Navarro, Meagan (May 27, 2020). "Release the Craven Cut: We're Still Waiting on the Director's Cuts of These 9 Horror Movies". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
- "#releasethecravencut". Twitter. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
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