The Cursed (2021)

The Cursed (2021) Cover

While not outright or completely terrible, no amount of creature effects or acting in the world can save The Cursed from its confusingly broken story. There is a lot of potential here and more forgiving viewers may even enjoy the film, but anyone following along with the plot will be frustrated with its inability to pick a lane and stick with it. A good horror movie might leave elements or causes unexplained in order to focus on more important things such as the themes or characters. Writer/director Sean Ellis decides to go in a different direction and provide a different explanation for the monster every few minutes.

I don't even know where to start with this mess. In anticipation of times of great hardship, a local group of Romani melts down silver coins into a set of teeth that are supposed to protect them in dark times. After a local land owner has them murdered over their claim on land that he wants, the teeth call out to the children of the area to unleash an avenging evil. Or maybe it's bacteria? Or maybe it's a betrayer's curse from Judas?

It's hard to say because every so often the film is a bit of a mess. There are ideas buried in this script that would make for a very compelling narrative that has something to say about the dynamics of power between the wealthy and the poor, but it's constantly undermining anything you could wring out of it. Any single thought or concept here in isolation would have been fine and I'd like to have seen a more refined and thoughtful version of this story. What is on the screen, though, just doesn't have the focus to do any justice to its themes.

That's not to say it's completely without value. There's some passable creature effects here that are somewhat thrilling to watch. There are some compelling dream sequences and the cinematography captures some fairly beautiful shots. The acting is... competent. There's certainly a lot of room for more compelling performances, but I just can't blame the actors for not being able to do much with the material. There certainly weren't any scenes where the acting was bad enough to distract me from the written words.

If you can just watch a film and not think about it at all you may enjoy this one a bit. If you can't, this film will stick with you and unravel in your head, falling to pieces upon even the most casual examination.

Final Verdict:Meh. It's bad, but it isn't completely without value.