Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: In rural 19th-century France, a mysterious, possibly supernatural menace threatens a small village. John McBride, a pathologist, comes to town to investigate the danger — and exorcise some of his own demons in the process.
Review: I sat down to watch this movie and the first thing I said to myself is “In over a century, there’s only been a handful of great werewolf movies”. I actually started listing them off in my head and couldn’t get past ten. It’s just a very difficult topic to make a seriously decent horror movie out of. But thankfully The Cursed brings just enough originality to the table to make it worthy of its name.
Originally titled Eight for Silver and written/directed by Sean Ellis (The Broken, Anthropoid) this is the type of horror that will appeal to fans of the gothic aesthetics found in movies like The Woman in Black and Sleepy Hollow. With its fog-filled atmosphere and use of naturally lit scenes Ellis does a great job of making a small village in the 19th century come to life. The story itself is a throwback to the old Hammer horror movies of the 60s with a gypsy curse plaguing a town and lone hero John McBride, played by Boyd Holbrook (Logan, The Predator), rolling into town on his own personal mission to find the source of the curse and end it.
I really love how much thought was put into the creation of both the creature and the curse that birthed it. Most werewolf movies follow the rules of The Wolfman and keep things simple with a bite creating the monster and silver bullets utilised to stop it. Ellis takes things much further giving a sense of originality to his tale that is sadly lacking in modern lycan stories. The “werewolf” design isn’t wholly original but it was quite eye catching (if lacking in any actual fur) and the various transformations and reveals worked really well, with computer generated and practical effects blending beautifully together to create something that will most definitely leave an impression on audiences.
The story is well thought out and for the most part well executed with a handful of talented (if under-utilised) actors to help move things along. It’s a shame talent such as Kelly Reilly (Yellowstone) and Alistair Petrie (Rogue One, The Bank Job) didn’t have meatier material to work with. That said, they handled their roles well enough. Honestly my only real issue with The Cursed is in the pacing which with a bit of tightening up and editing could’ve led to a much more thrilling movie. Budget constraints might have also led to the lack of action set pieces, then again, this isn’t really THAT type of movie. The opening and closing acts are memorable but the middle drags somewhat and you’re just left waiting for them to get to the point.
As someone who loves a good creature feature you can imagine how hopeful I was for The Cursed. And while I wouldn’t consider this as one of the greats there’s a lot to appreciate here, specifically the gothic horror, the original twist on an old and well-worn folktale and the beautiful but horrific creature design. All in all if you’re a fan of werewolf films, this is one worth checking out.
Sommer’s Score: 6 out of 10
So have you checked out The Cursed? What did you think of it? And you can check more great werewolf content below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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