Scream 

Cursed is a horror of a horror film.

So, Mom says to me, "Bo, I bet it's hard sometimes to write those reviews of yours. I imagine some movies just don't have much to write about in them." I'm thinking about that as the deadline looms for my Cursed review and also just having watched the Academy Awards. Now, for the most part, those movies were easy to write about. But poop like Cursed and the other nine-ish horror movies that have come out in the last few weeks? I must compel myself to say some things about Cursed -- a half-baked horror film with few discernible virtues or even distinctions.

It's got Christina Ricci in it, which is good, because she's all kinds of spooky already. ("Scram, makeup lady! This one's a natural!") She was sullen and weird in the Addams Family movies, and scarier than that was the film industry's strange attempts to promote her as a child sex symbol in the 1990s. Anyway, in Cursed, she plays Ellie, who seems to be starting a job with Craig Kilborn's late-night talk show. (He appears as himself.) She and brother Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg) get bit by a werewolf while trying to help an injured motorist, and hilarity -- oops, I mean terror -- ensues when they start to show signs of lycanthropy (that's werewolf-ism, y'all!). Jimmy, I intuit, is intended to be nerdy-cute in a 21st-century kind of way: smart, awkward, lean, not bad to look at, and cracking wise at every opportunity.

Jimmy immediately identifies their symptoms as the onset of becoming, themselves, lupine night stalkers and reveals with the help of books (literacy!) that the only way to cure themselves is to kill the head werewolf. But Ellie can't be bothered -- not with a very important Kilborn interview to line up: Scott Baio! Scott Baio was Chachi on TV's Happy Days and the subsequent spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi, and his most distinguished foray into film was the "sexy" teen comedy Zapped! back in 1982. Ellie also has a moody boyfriend who's opening a hot new movies-inspired club called Tinsel. Think Planet Hollywood meets Studio 54 but without the decadent sex and drugs of either. (I have not been to L.A., but it seems like the last thing L.A. would want or need is another gathering place with movie memorabilia. But the youngsters in Cursed seem to like it, so I'll shut up.) An additional, competing werewolf also seems to be lurking. Moody Boyfriend is played by Joshua Jackson, late of Dawson's Creek. It's obvious that he's hiding something from the moment we meet him, and while I'm not about to reveal who the other werewolf is, I'll give you a hint: It's not Chachi.

Cursed seemed cursed from the start. Apparently, there were production snags that held up the release, as well as some omitted appearances by Omar Epps and Skeet Ulrich and reduced roles for Baio and 'N Sync's Lance Bass, who appear as themselves in cameos. Wes Craven directed this two-bit Scream knockoff, which is sad, because he directed Scream in the first place. Scream was a great franchise and proved that horror can be funny and scary and in tune with popular culture. Cursed isn't even in tune with Planet Hollywood, and Planet Hollywood sucks. So trust me: Cursed is worse. -- B/

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