Cursed DVD Review
PictureCursed is presented in a beautifully broad 2.40:1 aspect ratio anamorphically enhanced widescreen format. The transfer has exceptional detail throughout, with no softness and no sign of edge enhancement or other digital artefacts. It is free of even the slightest grain and has no print damage in the form of dirt or scratches. The colour scheme is quite broad - even if it is mainly set at night - and the colours are consistently well represented, with deep and solid blacks. It is a tremendous visual effort that will get no complaints from me.
SoundIn line with the visual treatment, Cursed gets a solid audio accompaniment in the form of a powerful Dolby Digital 5.1 track that pulls out all the stops to swamp you shocks and thrills. Although the dialogue is normally clear and coherent predominantly emanating from the frontal array, it can get a little overwhelmed by the rest of the track mainly because the music and effects come from all around to full six speaker surround sound effect to put you in the thick of things. There is also some room for bass to rumble through your living room. It is one of the most heady soundtracks that I have come across recently.
ExtrasFirst up we get Behind the Fangs: The Making of Cursed, which runs at seven minutes in length and features interviews with the main cast - Christina Ricci, Joshua Jackson, Jesse Eisenberg, Michael Rosenbaum, Mya, Judy Greer, Scott Baio and Portia De Rossi - talking about the production and the parts they had to play, along with various members of the crew. The screenwriter is the most informative, discussing the story and talking about bringing the genre back to life - something which I don't think this film contributed to. It is a slightly fluffy featurette with a few too many clips from the movie but a little bit of behind the scenes footage thrown into the mix. Unfortunately there is no sign of the director other than filming the scenes, though it was quite nice to hear how they talk about him being a nice guy even though his bloody ideas would seem to indicate a demented mind.
The Cursed Effects is a seven minute featurette focussing on the wolf sequences, including the various transformations and how they represented the wolf using animatronics, CGI and a man in a suit. Ironically, some of the test shots which were never used for the film look much better than CG transformation that they finally went with. Although centring on the wolf, there are a couple of minutes at the end devoted to the gore of the victims, including a funny sequence showing alternate test versions of the dream scene.
Creature Editing 101 is a five minute featurette with the Film Editor talking immodestly about how the Editor can save a movie, which is stupid when you think that he probably ruined this one: taking away the horror and making it a PG-13 probably removed the movie's bite. He doesn't really go into any detail over the changes he made, suffice to say he takes credit for butchering the director's version so that the studios could make more money - and he seems genuinely proud of the fact. It is a shame that we do not hear more about the troubles that the production underwent on its journey to release, but this is quite a watchable featurette, even if just for a laugh at the Editor.
Becoming a Werewolf is an eight minute mock-documentary shot with a camcorder that follows make-up artist Greg Nicotero and actor Jesse Eisenberg around for a couple of hours. It's an odd semi-comical waste of your time, showing them reading books in a library at one stage - a interesting alternative to perhaps watching paint dry. The only minor spark of interest is when Wes Craven pops up and actually speaks - the first time we have seen that on this disc.
There is also Selected Scene Commentary by Special Effects Makeup Supervisor Greg Nicotero and Actor Derek Mears who talk over four main sequences - the Car Wreck, the Parking Garage, the main stage confrontation and the Final fight. When they say Actor Derek Mears, they mean the guy in the big suit playing the werewolf by the way. The two talk quite dryly over the various scenes, observing some minute and unimportant technical detail and only occasionally drifting into more interesting anecdotes - including a funny tale about a female stunt double whose outfit left no room for protective pads, leading to her getting battered by repeated takes. Although quite a nice touch to have this twenty-five minute offering, a more general commentary from some of the real cast and even the elusive Wes Craven would have been more appreciated, particularly if it enlightened audiences as to what happened during the overlong production.
Finally we get a bunch of Trailers including the fantastic new comic-book adaptation, Sin City, featuring an indisputably great comeback performance by Mickey Rourke, the unrated Scary Movie 3.5 release, Bruce Willis' standard no-nonsense Hostage thriller and the Christina Ricci movie Prozac Nation which seems to stretch her acting talents a bit more.
VerdictAlthough not a particularly original effort, Cursed is a perfectly enjoyable horror flick that has been given some superior audio and visual treatment but a distinctly average set of extra features - more talk of the work that this underwent before finally being released would have been welcomed. This unrated edition leaves less to the imagination, with some extra CG gore but little else - although I find it difficult to see how the PG-13 version would work at all given the amount of horror they would have to cut. Overall, if you particularly like your B-movie horrors then you should buy this outright, otherwise I recommend a rental first and if given the choice between the two releases I would definitely opt for the unrated version, unless you are planning on showing it to kids.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £18.59
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