Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson team up for what should have been another massive hit in Cursed. The newest edition from Scream Factory delves into how it went wrong.
Note from Scream Factory: The Unrated Cut is not the original Craven cut of the film featuring different actors in the roles. We tried.
God bless Judy Greer.
Without the (in)famous character actress and du jour “mean girl” of the early aughts, Wes Craven’s Cursed for 2/3 of its runtime is a carbon copy of everything that the director did so well a decade prior but just stale. It isn’t that there’s a secret movie – though there is – that will help us magically look at Cursed differently. It’s that this version has no personality or wit that Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson brought so aptly to every one of their three Scream films.
The biggest difference between the unrated and rated cuts is obviously the gore. Oddly, language isn’t a factor. Though, one can tell that the film was filmed pre-2019 because of the aberrant homophobic language used throughout. Some will say because Williamson identifies as Gay he was just writing truths. It still should be noted nonetheless viewers who have not seen the film will be in for a shock as Jesse Eisenberg’s character is subject to a torrent of abusive homophobic language.
All of the film’s problems are still deeply embedded regardless of which cut you watch. Part of the problem is that no one knew what film they wanted to make. Some sort of Hollywood inside joke ala Swimming with Sharks but with werewolves or the earnest film about a woman trying to figure out her personal relationship with a very toxic man but with werewolves. Cursed tries to have its cake and eat it too. Because it finds no way to solve these two very different films you are left with a film that is a master of none.
Once Cursed does decide the film it wants to be, it does take flight in the best way possible. Everything after they enter Tinsel – the club that Joshua Jackson’s character is opening – the film finds its rhythm. There’s a way that the cheekiness of the characters commenting on troupes of horror films and the horror itself that works. Though the old adage of a great ending and we forgive all definitely doesn’t apply here.
The biggest issue is that Craven’s film never commits to anything and by the time it does it’s way too late.
Both cuts of the film feature a brand new 4K scan of the original camera negative. The film having been shot at the tail end of the 35mm over Digital era the image is crisp and cinematic. The work that Scream has done with both transfers is beautiful. Having owned the DVD for a very long time I cracked open finally to give it a look. The comparisons are at the extremes of the home video market. The Blu-ray in both iterations is a sharp handsome image that definitely benefits from the black and contrast levels inherent in the technology. The upgrade and new transfer lead to a true uptick in quality.
They include the following;
DISC ONE: Theatrical Cut
- A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing
- A Movie That Lives Up To Its Title
- Behind the Fangs: The Making of CURSED
- The CURSED effects
- Becoming a Werewolf
- Creature Editing 101
- Theatrical Trailer
A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing (13:57) – is an all-new interview with actor Derek Mears opens with how he came to work and his origins. Mears does a great job of discussing the wildness of the production. Some of the details include how he got work at Universal Studio Hollywood in their “Stunt Show” spectaculars, his first job, meeting Wes Craven for the first time, how he was invited to work on both films, details about the make-up and the production and changes they made, and much more. Mears is a fascinating interview and anyone that wants to know more about this process should definitely check this out.
A Movie That Lives Up To Its Title (17:57) – is an all-new interview with editor Patrick Lussier. Lussier begins by discussing where he met Wes Craven and began to work with him. Some of the details include the “suitcases of money” offered to Craven to direct Cursed and the circumstances around that, going from 6 months of expected work to close to 19 months, his account of what happened with the re-writes, the footage that survived the first production, what was reshot, what changed and was embellished, and much more. Lussier is very honest about the process and how the entire process dragged on. The interview includes some stills from the first iteration with looks at Josh Brolin and Skeet Ulrich.
Behind the Fangs: The Making of CURSED (7:33) – is an archival making-of featurette. This is a very EPK-Style making-of. Featuring Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, screenwriter Kevin Williamson, Joshua Jackson, and others. Again, no real discussion of the first film they made and why it didn’t work.
The CURSED effects (6:45) – is an archival featurette discussion of the various make-up FX and CGI FX brought to bring the film to life. There’s some great b-roll footage from the production including some test footage for makeup FX. Comments by Greg Nicotero, actor Derek Mears (who plays the main werewolf), actor Judy Greer and others.
Becoming a Werewolf (7:58) – an archival featurette featuring star Jesse Eisenberg very cheekily discussing the work that goes into the make-up FX on the show. Also featuring Greg Nicotero the featurette is funnier than most of the film and really doesn’t give any additional information about the make-up. I’m sure that the mutton chops that Eisenberg is sporting will be used for his inventible audition for the new Wolverine.
Creature Editing 101 (5:32) – an archival featurette with Patrick Lussier discussing working on the film. Though it should be noted that though the discussion of multiple versions occurs, it is never discussed that Craven had to recast most of the movie after the first production had multiple supposed issues. That aside, this is a great discussion of the PG-13 vs R-Rated cuts, and also how the film and its scares are built.
Theatrical Trailer (1:42)
DISC TWO Unrated Cut
- Select Scenes with Audio Commentary by special effects artist Greg Nicotero and actor Derek Mears
The select scene audio commentary by Nicotero and Mears is on these scenes;
Car Wreck (6:11) – Nicotero and Mears discuss the nuts and bolts of filming the scene and what they actually did including Mears working on the Stunt crew as well. There is a lot of jovial conversation about how they actually achieved the look.
Parking Garage (4:38) – again Nicoero and Mears discuss the sequence and how much Mears playing the wolf appears onscreen.
Tinsel (15:42) – Nicotero and Mears discuss the various challenges they faced during the production of the major set piece.
Final Fight (4:58) – Nicotero and Mears discuss the various FX works to archive some of the gory moments (obviously from the uncut version).
The Final Thought
Scream Factory does an excellent job of giving us special features that explain how Cursed came to be. For anyone that’s a fan of this film or troubled productions, it’s a definite RECOMMEND.