The Cursed (previously known as Eight for Silver) is a horror film that was directed and written by Sean Ellis. In rural 19th-century France, a mysterious menace threatens a small village.
The film opens with a wounded British captain being brought into a medical tent with three bullet wounds to his abdomen. During surgery to remove the German bullets the surgeon discovers and removes an additional fourth bullet made of silver.
Thirty-five years earlier, Baron Seamus Laurent leads a slaughter of a Romani clan who have a claim to his land and settled there. The night before, the Romani leaders cast a set of silver dentures in the form of a wolf’s fangs for their protection. During the slaughter the Romani leaders are captured and killed. One has his hands and feet cut off and is then lashed to a cross and erected as a scarecrow to serve as a warning to others who may try to settle the land. The other is buried alive with the silver fangs clutched in her grasp.
Soon after, Seamus’ children Edward and Charlotte, are plagued by nightmares of the Romani scarecrow and the silver fangs. While playing one day, Timmy reveals to the other children he knows the location of the nightmare scarecrow. Swearing them all to secrecy he leads the children to the scarecrow. Upon arriving at the scarecrow, Timmy is overcome with the urge to dig up the silver fangs. Edward attempts to stop Timmy but before he can Timmy retrieves the fangs and places them in his mouth. Timmy then attacks Edward, viciously biting Edward’s throat as the other children flee in terror. Charlotte flees to her family’s manor and alerts her parents and their staff. Seamus quickly recovers Edward who is seriously injured but not dead. Timmy is nowhere to be found. The doctors believe Edward was attacked by a wild animal.
Edward grows seriously ill. During the night, Charlotte awakes to Edward’s screams and finds him ensnared by wood-like vines emerging from his body. Charlotte flees to her parents but when they return Edward has disappeared into the night. The next day, Seamus organizes the town men into a search party for Edward but is unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, pathologist John McBride visits the town seeking information on the traveling Romani. He meets and befriends the local law enforcement, who enlists John’s help with the missing Edward. John unites with Seamus who reveals the situation has grown more complicated with the discovery of Timmy’s corpse which is also deemed the result of a wild animal.
Seamus hosts John in his manor as John investigates what happened to Edward including examining samples of Edward’s blood that dropped on the door as he fled. Examining Edward’s blood, John finds they bond with and convert his own blood cells confirming his suspicions. He instructs Seamus to have all the first floor doors and windows of his house boarded and that no one of the house or village should go outside alone without an armed escort. That night, Seamus’ house is visited by a strange wolf-like creature that tries to gain entry but is unsuccessful.
What is going on? Check out The Cursed to find out.
The Cursed delivers plenty of intrigue and tension but has a number lacking aspects that weigh it down. It’s clearly a competently made film with nice cinematography and solid acting. Also, there is plenty of high quality practical effects work used in the film. There’s realistic looking wounds and an autopsy scene that draws comparisons to John Carpenters “The Thing”. However, whenever the creature is shown in motion or attacking someone it’s done with CGI and pretty average looking CGI for that matter. This is a huge shame as had they only found ways to use practical work for the monster then we would be talking about something truly great. Unfortunately, while the CGI isn’t garbage and is still effective in its own way, the obviousness of it drags the film down badly.
Additionally, a better job could have been done with its characters. You don’t learn much about any of them and aren’t given enough time to care. John McBride’s backstory is generic but it works well enough as a device to explain his motivations.
Also, there’s a couple of nonsensical moments. For example, McBride notices a lot of blood on some sheets that are drying outside. This is at a time when he is waiting for the creature to attack. He asks Seamus where the servant is and then the subject is changed. Instead of pursuing this further, they all just go to bed. You can imagine what ends up happening due to this.
The ending ties things up nicely. Although, I don’t think it’s as shocking or unpredictable as the makers thought it would be. Also, i’m not sure if you’re supposed to draw your own conclusions but I was hoping that the removal of the silver bullet may have unleashed the beast again but it seems not. A bit disappointing.
Overall, you may think you’ve seen it all when it comes to horror movies about the werewolf but think again. The Cursed offers something a bit different. Its flaws are there for anyone to see but it’s generally a well-made film with some brutal looking gore that it doesn’t shy away from.
The Final Score - 6/10