The Cursed (Joel Bender, 2010)
[note: review originally published 8Jan2011]
You are The Cursed, if you unsuspectingly rent this looking for anything approaching a decent movie. Let me guess: you got sucked in by a couple of names that may have been big in the early nineties, James Marshall (Twin Peaks) and Costas Mandylor (Picket Fences), as well as Louis Mandylor, little brother of Costas, last seen by anything approaching a crowd in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I warn you, folks, Louis Mandylor’s name on a movie is like other big-name siblings like Frank Stallone, Clint Howard, or the ever-popular Joe Estevez. You see that name, and you should flee screaming in terror.
Plot: Denny White (Kickboxer 4‘s Brad Thornton) is headed back to the old homestead to get away from the big city and concentrate on writing a book about local folklore. He hooks up with his old pal Bill (Marshall) for a place to stay. While doing research he runs into hot librarian Sara (Rush Hour 3‘s Francesca Cecil), and the two of them strike up a relationship. But not long after Denny came to town, something started killing the local livestock, and Sheriff Lloyd (Louis Mandylor) and his retired-sheriff older brother Jimmy (Costas) think those two things may be related…
Of course they are, in the insanely-twisted-around goofy way common to horror movies like this. You probably knew that from reading the jacket copy. (If you didn’t, sorry, but come on, you’ve seen more than three horror films in your life, right?) I’m not saying that treading the well-worn paths of the horror genre automatically means there’s no life left in a movie; it can be done enjoyably time and again, and has been on a number of occasions recently (The House of the Devil springs to mind immediately). But anything that could have possibly made this enjoyable is leached out by a cast that ranges from competent-on-their-best-day (and this was no one’s best day; ah, James Marshall, what I wouldn’t give to see you in another movie as good as Gladiator) to flat-out awful, Bender directs like a guy whose biggest previous job was Sweet Valley High: The TV Series (and surprise, surprise, it was), Martin Watson was writing his first script and it shows… you get the idea. There is very, very little to recommend this other than to say “it’s better than the recent It’s Alive remake”. Which ain’t saying much. *