Review: Wes Craven's 'Cursed' Still Compromised, But Looks Great on Blu-ray

by Sam Cohen

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday May 10, 2022

Review: Wes Craven's 'Cursed' Still Compromised, But Looks Great on Blu-ray

Of all the Hollywood stories about compromised films, few are as wrought with studio interference as the production of Wes Craven's "Cursed." What was already a film that Craven wasn't completely behind on a narrative level became a huge problem for Dimension Films, at the time run by the Weinstein brothers. The resulting theatrical cut only incorporates 12 minutes of footage from the original shoot directed by Craven, and the film itself underwent three different periods of reshoots. Unfortunately, what's left is a disjointed effort that smacks of production troubles. But even with Craven's worst work, it still has merit that reminds you of the filmmaker's mastery of comedy-tinged horror.

Shout Factory and their Scream Factory collection bring "Cursed" to Blu-ray with a two-disc set that includes both Unrated and Theatrical Cuts of the film, plus a nice handful of special features that breathlessly explain the mess of the production and what could have been. Both cuts are sourced from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative, and that becomes abundantly clear once you start watching the film. Clarity and detail are leagues better than previous Blu-ray releases, while film grain is nicely resolved. Although "Cursed" isn't nearly the film it could have been, this collector's edition from Shout graces the film with a stellar home entertainment treatment.

Ellie (Christina Ricci) and her teenage brother Jimmy (Jesse Eisenberg) are engulfed in a world of terror when they discover that a werewolf is killing people in Hollywood. Now, it's up to them to break the lycanthropic curse before the body count grows exponentially.

"Cursed" was always designed as being the kind of tongue-in-cheek horror that "Scream" was just a few years beforehand. But to achieve that, the Weinstein brothers demanded extensive rewrites and controlled so many aspects of the shoot that it was barely Wes Craven's film anymore, going as far to strip the film of its expensive practical effects and replacing them with expensive, awful-looking CGI effects. Even with all that said, glimmers of Craven's artistry show up in abundance here. It's like watching a film filled with moments that vacillate wildly in quality from scene to scene.

As for special features, there's a great interview with editor Patrick Lussier that's very frank about the tortured production and puts everything into remarkable context. It's abundantly clear that whenever Craven was able to get ahead and satisfy the powers that be, they just came back with even more demands to satisfy. There's a fun interview with actor/stunt performer Derek Mears as well, as the actor details how his role rapidly changed as the production progressed. If you're a fan of Craven, you'll find much to enjoy with this new collector's edition Blu-ray release.

Other special features include:

• "Behind The Fangs: The Making Of 'Cursed'"

• "The Cursed Effects"

• "Becoming A Werewolf"

• "Creature Editing 101"

• Theatrical trailer

• Select scenes with audio commentary by special effects artist Greg Nicotero and actor Derek Mears

"Cursed" is now available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory.