With Scream, Wes Craven and Kevin Will-iamson pioneered a novel formula for rejuvenating the slasher flick: Rather than populate their cut-’em-up with brain-dead, sexually curious, impossibly buff teenagers, fill it instead with brain-dead, sexually curious, impossibly buff teenagers who’ve seen and talk about slasher movies—as if a glib, pomo awareness of banality would somehow render that banality void. Now nine years abused, the self-consciousness is itself a cliché in Cursed, their latest collaboration. Five minutes in—courtesy of memorabilia hound Joshua Jackson—Craven drags out the Frankenstein lab equipment, a Nosferatu waxwork, and the silver staff from The Wolf Man; he kicks off the action with a combo vehicular manslaughter/werewolf attack on Mulholland Drive. A beleaguered production, Cursed has been (Miram)axed into three half-acts: Christina Ricci has only started licking boss Craig Kilborn’s wounds, and nerdy brother Jesse Eisenberg has barely begun to use his powers, Teen Wolf-like, to impress the school wrestling team, before we’re assaulted with a Lady From Shanghai hall-of-mirrors climax, the silliest plot twist since Exorcist: The Beginning, and numerous unfortunate shots of a Grinchian werewolf. The scariest thing in the movie is a cameo by Scott Baio.
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