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John’s Horror Corner: The Cursed (2021), a most welcome spin to a gypsy curse film that is a triumph in its subgenre.

June 16, 2022

MY CALL:  Don’t read too much about this film before seeing it; don’t seek out screen grabs or clips. It’s creepily atmospheric, graphically gory, and wondering if this is more creature feature or more Sleepy Hollow (1999) is a fine part of its unnerving charm. Strongly recommended! MORE MOVIES LIKE The CursedThis movie reminds me most of Sleepy Hollow (1999), The Brothers Grimm (2005) and The Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001). For more “gypsy curse” horror, try Thinner(1996) and Drag Me to Hell (2009).

Ten minutes into this film and I know that director and writer Sean Ellis (Anthropoid) is someone whose work I now intend to follow!

Our opening war scenes in France are grim yet gorgeous, depicting the cruel hardships faced by soldiers and the war infirmary brutalities that were suffered by survivors. The gore here is grounded and realistic, but still viciously eye-turning as limbs are audibly sawed off of screaming patients and bullets are wrenched from abdomens free of anesthesia. Truly, this film aspires in its graphic gore at every opportunity and the wound work is wincingly outstanding. We likewise find excruciating hatcheting of extremities against gypsies… and such cruel offenses earn the perpetrators a gypsy curse.

There is something dire about watching gypsies melt down silver and pour it into casts to produce silver teeth, that would then replace the formerly human teeth in bone mandibles, created with the utmost care, respect and even reverence.

We later find young Charlotte and Edward tended by their affluent parents, the tender Isabelle (Kelly Reilly; Eden Lake) and their rather cold father Seamus (Alistair Petrie; Victor Frankenstein, Hellboy). When Edward is attacked by a wild animal and subsequently disappears, searches are conducted as another young boy is discovered in the woods, brutally mangled! To investigate the case, pathologist John McBride (Boyd Holbrook; Morgan, The Predator) is commissioned to find Edward. McBride’s methods span classic Holmesian means, from crime scene investigation to questioning people about the boy and even techniques including blood and microscopy. The story and curse escalate, some turning to denial and others to fear, and more people tied to the violations of the gypsies die.

The creature attack scenes are quite effective. You see just enough to know what the monster is doing and have a vague idea of the monster’s form, seeing more and more of the monstrosity with every encounter. Other scenes show victims of the gypsy curse entangled by animated tentacle-like viny roots, and a most anatomically gory, writhing and slimy autopsy scene kindles memories of The Thing (1982).

This was a solid film! Very well made, well executed, visually well told, and I was perfectly satisfied with the ending. I want more of this; more from the mind and vision of Sean Ellis!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2022 10:06 am

    Thanks for the review! I’ll be adding this one to my watchlist.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      June 20, 2022 1:40 pm

      Such a strong rec on this one. Really a very pleasant surprise for me… and that’s hard to find.

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