“The Cursed” is a spooky movie about a creature that stalks a wealthy landowner and his family in France. But the father of this group had brought about his own misfortune, along with the town elders.
They did not take too kindly to a roving clan of itinerant Romani settlers. They claim to have a right to the land, but before Cher can sing “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”, the whole place becomes cursed with an ancient spell. That leads to death and destruction, and many eerie happenings…
Starting in year 1917 in the French First World War trenches, a soldier named Edward is shot. But when doctors get him treated, they find not only the German bullets. They also find a Silver Bullet. But how in the world did that get there? To find out, you must travel around 30 or so years back in the past. A land baron named Seamus Laurent (played by Alistair Petrie) owns a large piece of the countryside.
His family is there with him, including his wife Isabelle Laurent (played by Kelly Reilly), and his two children. Charlotte (played by Amelia Crouch) is a teenager, and she has a younger brother named Edward (played by Max Macintosh). It is the late nineteenth century, and family lives in a large mansion. The fields are owned in common with the town elders, other major landowners who want to keep the cholera outbreak at bay.
There any many workers who live in a nearby settlement, and they work the land for the families. But a group of Gypsy travelers come to that land. They have made a claim that goes back centuries, but the paper trail is weak. There is no way to buy them off the land they believe that they own, or to kindly persuade them to vamoose. So, led by Seamus Laurent, the town leaders send in a goon squad of ruffians to remove them by force. That involves a lot of killing and mayhem. An elderly Gypsy casts a spell on some cursed silver, which is made into the shape of wolf teeth.
The problem is solved, or so think the town elders. No trace of the Gypsy clan remains, except for man who was turned into a human scarecrow. The Silver Teeth are buried at its feet. Still, the old Gypsy woman put a curse on the land and on the one who brought ruin to the Gypsy camp. Seamus Laurent knows nothing about any curse or any strange spell, and his wife Isabelle does not know any details about it. Charlotte and Edward happen to go out with a group of other children out to the field with the scarecrow. One other boy finds the teeth, and soon Edward is attacked. He gets worse and worse, and then one night he goes missing.
The other boy talks to Charlotte and says he cannot remember anything that happened after he found the Silver Teeth. He has read in the Bible about the pieces of Silver that Judas was given to betray Jesus. He thinks that this might be that cursed Silver. Soon after that, the boy is found dead. The authorities claim he was attacked by a large wolf.
There is a man from out-of-town who is following clues about mysterious deaths. He is a pathologist named John McBride (played by Boyd Holbrook) and he wants to help find the missing boy, Edward. As it turns out, McBride has had prior dealing with this type of thing. He has a personal agenda.
John McBride hears that more and more people have been attacked, and the bodies are missing. He did see this type of thing before, and he has heard about an old curse put upon the Silver. Isabelle starts to tell John some more about the Gypsy camp, but Seamus will not permit it. Charlotte also tells John about some of the things that happened in the field when Edward was attacked.
No ordinary threat is facing this small town. All of the town elders who know what Seamus was about to do and were in on his awful deed are about to feel the revenge. The old Gypsy woman’s dying curse is coming back to the village, and many will die.
People are being tracked and hunted and killed. But nobody knows what or who is doing it. John McBride seems to know — if he can only convince Seamus Laurent to give him all the details. But some secrets must remain buried, and soon many people in the village will be buried, also. Can there be a way to break this curse and end of cycle of revenge? Perhaps is has something to do with a Silver Bullet?
“The Cursed” is a fascinating brainchild of Sean Ellis. His work is on display everywhere, because he wrote and directed this movie. He is even the one behind the camera work, and this captures some terrifically moody images of fog-shrouded fields and dark woodlands. His story is a slow burning tension-filled feast of waiting and watching – only to be turned by a brief and sudden violent act. The monster is (of course) revealed as the rich and powerful landowners, who do not mind trampling to death the misplaced wandering travelers.
The acting is solid, with a very stern Alistair Petrie (who plays Seamus) and an underused Kelly Reilly (who plays Isabelle). Boyd Holbrook is also really good as John McBride, and his character finally is able to tell the townsfolk what type of horror they have unleashed. There are a few scenes that tend to be shot very dark (very little light), and a number of scenes that are emotionally dark.
“The Cursed” is a fine period set piece of gothic horror. There are enough chills and tension-raising moments that make you feel creeped out. So, remember to treat the next Gypsy woman you meet with some respect…
Written and Directed by: Sean Ellis
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Kelly Reilly, Alistair Petrie, Amelia Crouch, Max Macintosh
Cinematography: Sean Ellis
Edited by: Yorgos Mavropsaridis, Richard Mettler
Music by: Robin Foster
Distributed by: Elevation Pictures
Release date: February 18, 2022
Length: 113 minutes
MPAA rating: R for blody gore and horror