Writer/director Sean Ellis takes on the werewolf horror subgenre and gives it a slightly different spin that offers commentary and some fictional social justice on the ugly truths of colonization. Though the movie has its moments that lack intensity, it also has its share of memorably horrific and suspenseful sequences that are sure to keep horror fans well entertained and captivated. The Cursed may not be the best werewolf movie ever, but it certainly indicates that there are still some interesting and unique ways of presenting this type of story.

The film mostly takes place in the late nineteenth century where Seamus Laurent (Alistair Petrie) viciously leads a mob of people to attack a group of gypsies who dwell on a piece of land he desires to claim for himself. In doing so, he unwittingly releases a curse upon his family that begins when his son Edward (Max Mackintosh) becomes seriously ill after a bizarre “animal attack.” Not long afterward, Edward disappears from the Laurent home, and it soon becomes apparent that the beast that attacked Edward is still on the prowl for more blood and carnage. A visiting pathologist named John McBride (Boyd Holbrook) is asked to help investigate what eventually becomes a string of attacks and deaths. McBride ultimately shares some insight into the matter that the local townspeople are not at all expecting.

Sean Ellis delivers a chilling and thrilling horror movie that is part period piece, and part violent gore fest. Ellis and his crew offer their audiences some exceptional work in the film that give The Cursed a genuinely organic and realistic feel. While so many horror flicks overly rely on CGI effects for their creature effects, gore, and backgrounds, Ellis and his team make their film appear and feel very old school. This adds to the natural credibility and tangibility of the movie and its setting.

I also rather enjoyed the performances by the entire cast who add to the gravity and fearsomeness of the film. As John McBride, Boyd Holbrook gives a winning turn as the pathologist who seems to know all-too-well what is exactly happening to the Laurent family and the surrounding town. As Seamus Laurent, Alistair Petrie gives a great performance as the hateful, cold and calculating Seamus McBride who faces a most serious penance for his crime. Kelly Reilly also stars as Seamus’ unhappy and beleaguered wife Isabelle.

The Cursed is one of those horror films that might not be among the most memorable ones in cinema, but it gives its audiences enough great horror material that it will probably come to mind, should its fans encounter it via streaming services later. I also sincerely believe that it will have its ardent fans who will keep the name alive for generations. I hope to see more horror features from Sean Ellis in the near future, as he definitely has some chops when it comes to the genre.

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