Cursed [2005]

When you consider its unfortunate production history, Cursed turned out surprisingly well as a werewolf thriller that horror buffs will appreciate. It's hardly the disaster critics made it out to be, but extensive rewriting, reshooting, recasting, and lengthy delays in production and release (including the elimination of R-rated gore to earn a PG-13 rating) clearly took their toll. The result is a fun but flawed monster-show that begins when a young talk-show producer (Christina Ricci) and her teenaged brother (Jesse Eisenberg) are bitten by a werewolf, setting the stage for a horror-in-Hollywood scenario that reunites director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson, creators of the Scream franchise. What could have been a classic horror comedy is instead a fairly solid, if unremarkable, exercise in Los Angeles lycanthropy, featuring werewolf makeup by Rick Baker (combined with CGI transformation effects, of course) and some of Williamson's snappy dialogue and trademark pop-culture references. The title of Cursed doubles as a description of this movie's ultimate fate, but in a market filled with straight-to-video horror fodder, it's anything but a lost cause. The supporting cast includes Shannon Elizabeth, Portia de Rossi and Joshua Jackson, so genre aficionados should definitely check it out. --Jeff Shannon

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