Cravenous: Cursed

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…the Cursed experience was so screwed up. I mean, that went on for 2-1/2 years of my life for a film that wasn’t anything close to what it should have been. And another film that I was about to shoot having the plug pulled—Pulse—so it was like, I did learn from the Cursed experience not to do something for money. They said, ‘We know you want to do another film, we’ll pay you double.’ And we were 10 days from shooting, and I said fine. But I ended up working 2-1/2 years for double my fee, but I could have done 2-1/2 movies, and done movies that were out there making money. In general, I think it’s not worth it and part of the reason my phone hasn’t rung is that that story is pretty well known.

This is what Wes Craven had to say in 2008 about the 2005 fustercluck known as Cursed. It also goes to show that it doesn’t matter how established or skilled you are; someone is always going to come along, thinking they know more than you because they’re (richer, more important, a big douchebag), and mess up what you’re trying to do.

Quick rundown: After wrapping up the final Scream film, Dimension came to Craven in 2000 with Kevin Williamson’s latest script and asked him to direct. Why not, right? The Craven/Williamson partnership had been unbelievably profitable for Dimension so far. Putting them together again for a new horror movie (and one that I’m sure they were hoping would turn into another profitable horror franchise)? It had success ingrained into its DNA. Also, who wouldn’t want to see Craven take on one of the foundational horror movie monster mythologies? He’d already done vampires and that was…

Oh.

Yeah. So maybe taking on the werewolf wasn’t such a great idea, especially when you have to halt production for massive rewrites dictated by your producer that end up causing you to lose most of your cast, thus making you have to go back and re-shoot a bunch of stuff and confuse your cast and your crew and ultimately yourself. Plus, you end up losing the master of werewolf practical effects and end up stuck with a CGI company that does work so terrible there is no “it didn’t age well” excuse, because it looked like shit even when it was new.

[Loba Tangent: Seriously, how awesome would it have been to get a good werewolf movie from Craven, with practical effects done by Rick Baker? I need a moment to mourn for what could have been. Okay. I’m okay.]

This movie could have been so much better. Instead, it was a hot mess and a blistering disappointment. Craven had been so increasingly on-point since The People Under the Stairs (minus that Eddie Murphy movie) that this could have only caused him the deepest level of frustration. I’m sure that it also did very little positive for his relationship with Dimension or the Weinsteins. In fact, he didn’t make another movie for Dimension until Scream 4.

I have to admit that I never bothered to watch this movie until this Cravenous experiment. I had read all the reviews and all about the behind-the-scenes mess and decided that I preferred to stand this round out. After watching it for this series, I’m convinced that I made a good call all those years ago. This movie is so disjointed and unclear. You can tell while watching it that things were shifting throughout the filming. You can also pick up on the frustration of those working to put this thing together. It just…it’s painful to watch. And the CGI that I already roasted? It’s seriously terrible. It’s “pull you right out of the already awful movie” terrible.

I’d tell you who is in this film, but I almost feel like I would be doing a disservice to some of the actors by associating them with this dud. I can tell you that several Craven alumni were meant to be in the film, including Skeet Ulrich, Omar Epps, Heather Langenkamp, and Scott Foley. However, because of the production stoppage and massive rewrites, they lost all these players. Portia de Rossi did come back for a really small part in this film (although probably longer than her time in Scream 2). Williamson favorite Joshua Jackson also makes an appearance in this film, which (yeah, let’s just name-drop ’em all) Christina Ricci and Jesse Eisenberg helm. Typically, Ricci is solid, especially when it comes to creepy, but she had so little to work with in this film that even solid crumbles without a sturdy foundation.

Bottom line? This was not the follow-up to the Scream films that Craven fans were looking for. The good thing is that it’s only up from here, right? Way up…

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