Written and Directed by Sean Ellis
Starring Boyd Holbrook, Kelly Reilly, Roxane Duran, Áine Rose Daly, Allastair Petrie
The Cursed starts in the depths of WWI where we see a man bought into a surgeon’s tent, where he is immediately operated on to remove buillets from his torso. The third bullet looks like it is shattered. When the surgeon digs a little deeper, he finds a silver bullet. The scene changes to a house far away where a middle aged woman enters and discovers someone is on his death bed. She looks at a picture and is transported into her past.
That past takes place in an estate in the United Kingdom, shere Lord Seamus Laurent meets with his local town leaders and decides to brutally remove a band of Roma gypsies. Problem is, whenever you cross a gypsy, especially an old woman gypsy, you are doomed to suffer the curse she emits upon your own people.
Soon, the people of the down begin to experience nightmares. Then, some of the children dig up a strange set of chompers made of silver. Then, well, that is for the viewer to discover.
Ellis takes this material deadly serious, and he has the cinematic chops to pull it off. The attacks can happen at anytime, because where they live, it’s foggy and the daytime feels almost worse than night. Ellis recognizes the inherent fear of being in the woods when it is too foggy to see.
The characters here are paper thin. Reilly gives back all the ground she has gained as Beth in Yellowstone, but that is fine. One can’t verbally abuse a cursed beast that is taking the village apart. Lord Seamus is the creepiest thing in the film, and the atrocity he allows is worse than anything that follows. If there is a criticism to this film, it’s that we never get to know the children as anything other than vessels of fear.
The character we see the most is John McBride, who is drawn to the town in search of the gypsy clan and then stays when he hears of the attacks. He has a past that intersects the clan, of course. He has a vested interest in seeing the whole process through.
Ellis does a good job with the triple task of writing, directing and handling the cinematography of The Cursed. There is not a moment in this film where one doesn’t feel a huge dread. There is also never a moment where one doesn’t know how the story will play out and what the other side of the bookend contains.
If you want to see a solid scary film about gypsy revenge, and you’ve not seen too many of them. This should be one to remember.
(***1/2 out of *****)