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"THE CURSED"
(2022) (Boyd Holbrook, Kelly Reilly) (R)


Read Our Full Content Movie Review for Parents

QUICK TAKE:
Horror: A late 19th-century pathologist investigates a boy's disappearance, only to uncover something truly sinister and deadly.
PLOT:

It's the late 19th century and Seamus Laurent (ALISTAIR PETRIE) is a wealthy landowner who hires mercenaries to dispatch a band of gypsies who claim to have rights to the land. Before all of them are murdered, the leader puts a curse on the man, his family, and their village, all embodied in the form of a silver mouthpiece equipped with fang-like teeth.

Not long after that, the kids of the town -- including Seamus' children, Charlotte (AMELIA CROUCH) and Edward (MAX MACKINTOSH) -- have nightmares featuring those teeth, a murdered man staked up like a scarecrow, and that gypsy leader. One older boy, Timmy (TOMMY RODGER), takes other kids to that spot, inserts the mouthpiece, and attacks Edward while possessed. Charlotte runs back to the family manor where her mother, Isabelle (KELLY REILLY), worries about the boy, especially when he disappears, leaving a bloody mess behind.

It's not long after that constable Alfred Molière (NIGEL BETTS) alerts pathologist John McBride (BOYD HOLBROOK) about what's occurred, notably because he's aware of the man being interested in any happenings involving gypsies. When John arrives in the village, he soon realizes a monster is on the loose, and with it attacking and infecting other people -- turning them into similar monsters -- he does what he can to protect the villagers and kill the creatures before there's any additional loss of life.

OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10

Many, many laps around the sun ago, in a pre-instantaneous information world, whenever I heard during a sportscast that my beloved Detroit Lions had taken the lead in a game, I superstitiously believed -- who knows why -- that whatever my seated position was at that moment was lucky for them, and thus I must stay frozen that way to ensure a victory.

Considering their win-loss record back then, you'd think I would have realized that didn't work as I believed. Then again, I was unaware of the curse that former Lions quarterback Bobby Layne put on the team. After they unceremoniously -- and shockingly -- traded him away, he allegedly put a 50-year curse on the team.

And you know what? It apparently worked as they've only won one playoff game since his departure. Yes, the Detroit Lions are the most cursed team in the league and perhaps all of sports. All due to one man's curse.

To be fully transparent, I don't believe in any of that or any superstitions for that matter, although I realize plenty of people do, be that about breaking mirrors, spilling salt, knocking on wood, or what have you. I must say I'm surprised that's still the case, especially as compared to days of old when folks were generally far more misinformed and thus believed such things that otherwise had no basis in reality.

That said, while I don't believe that anyone -- be they a former Lions QB or otherwise -- can curse someone and make it work (outside of someone psychosomatically reacting to news that they're the recipient of such bad wishes), I do believe in them in the world of movies because, heck, why not?

All of which leads us to this week's release of -- yes, you guessed it -- "The Cursed," a horror film not about the Lions, but one that's set in the late 1800s where a gypsy curses a village and especially the family of a man who -- like others of his ilk -- has decided to get rid of her and her kind once and for all.

And thus, once they bury her alive among those they've just murdered -- including one who they erect as a scarecrow of sorts -- the local kids start having nightmares about all of that despite not being aware of what recently happened. As kids will do, they go to that site and an older boy digs up a mouthpiece made of silver and some crushed human skull, puts it in his mouth, ends up possessed, and decides to go all Dracula on a younger boy (Max Mackintosh).

He's the brother to Charlotte (Amelia Crouch) who races home to mom ("Yellowstone's" Kelly Reilly) and dad (Alistair Petrie) who quickly realize something's wrong with young Edward, particularly when he ups and leaves through the window, with a bloody trail left behind.

Enter pathologist John McBride (Boyd Holbrook) who knows a thing or two about missing family members and gypsy curses. He informs Seamus that he should board up the first-floor windows of his manor and have the villagers assemble in the locked church for their protection. For out in the foggy environs lurks a monster that, like other such creatures of yore, will infect others via a bite, resulting in more monsters.

As written and directed by Sean Ellis, the film is creepy, spooky, and sometimes downright scary. It's also occasionally a bit disjointed, and it features -- at least in my opinion -- bookend moments set several decades later than the main story that ultimately don't do much for the story.

But that doesn't derail the offering by any means as it works fairly well, particularly in the moment as things unfold. Be forewarned, though, as it's a horror flick that leans in heavily on the gore and gruesome images. If you don't mind that, you might just dig falling under the old-time spell of "The Cursed." It rates as a 6 out of 10.




Reviewed February 11, 2022 / Posted February 18, 2022


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