Wednesday, March 4, 2015
The Curse (1987)
The Curse is an interesting idea poorly executed. The family is, to be perfectly blunt, a bunch of unlikable redneck assholes with the father and older son Cyrus coming off the worst. I'm sure there have been more unlikable redneck characters in film but these two are right up there.
Claude Akins is actually pretty good as the strict, religious father but the kid playing Cyrus makes him such a drooling buffoon (I'm too polite to just up and call him a retard) that even the sight of him simply watching a football game on TV is more shudder-inducing than any of the horror stuff that comes in the second half of the film. To be fair. it is rather fun seeing him nearly get trampled by one of their horses as it goes insane.
The rest of the family is okay with Wil Wheaton actually coming off rather well as the kid desperately trying to save his family. The mother and daughter are okay too, though really all they get to do is gradually decay into a low rent Evil Dead demon and get pecked by pissed off chickens respectively. John Schneider is also okay as a local state official who tries to help. The poorly written script, however, does not help. Characters are thrown in and dropped with no explanation, the house collapses on itself at the end for no apparent reason and the family, as I said, generates about as little sympathy as possible.
The idea is that something in the meteorite gets into the eater and crops, making the family go nuts but two fifths of the family are already unlikable to the point where you just want to see them get an axe in the head before the damn space rock even touches down. It's sort of hard to feel much in the way of horror at seeing a family slowly torn apart by madness from outer space when you realize that the space rock actually makes them slightly less unpleasant simply because they're not reciting bad dialogue.
Production wise, the film is quite meh. Actor David Keith (forever cursed to be confused with actor Keith David) does an acceptable job directing things and the special effects range from cheesily acceptable to not quite so cheesily acceptable but the score is really what shoots the overall mood of the film to hell. Generally, it's sort of hard to pull off a slow build with tension permeating every scene when you get the feeling the composer did most of his work sitting lazily on his porch, twanging his guitar casually on a hot summer afternoon. There are some music beats with the meteorite that are okay but for the most part... No. Just no.
The Curse is not an especially good movie. There are some cheesy moments of fun here and there but it says something quite bad that the three in-name-only sequels that came out afterwards are more or less better.