Cursed appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The transfer fell into the good but slightly flawed category.
Most of the minor problems stemmed from sharpness. I noticed bouts of edge enhancement, and those rendered the image a bit indistinct at times. Most of the movie looked appropriately concise and well-defined, though. I saw no jagged edges or shimmering, and source flaws remained absent.
To reflect the predominance of moonlight, Cursed went with a decidedly bluish palette. This didn’t overwhelm more natural hues, but much of the movie showed that influence. Across the board, the colors seemed satisfying, as the reflected the production design well. Blacks were nicely deep and taut as well, and shadows usually followed suit. A few low-light shots looked slightly murky, but those popped up infrequently. The edge enhancement was the main culprit, as otherwise this was a good transfer.
I found little to complain about when I examined the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Cursed. An ass-kicking kind of mix, it accentuated the action well. Not surprisingly, the various attack sequences fared the best. Wolves came at us from all sides and created an engrossing feel for the fury of the fights. Many other scenes added great ambience, with a gold star going to the “Maze of Mirrors” sequence as a particularly dramatic use of all five speakers. The mix consistently portrayed a great sense of setting and helped make the movie more exciting.
Audio quality was always solid. Speech seemed natural and concise, and I noticed no edginess or other concerns. Music sounded vibrant and dynamic. The score and various songs boasted clean reproduction with good range. Effects remained the best elements of the show, as they were aggressive and clear. Bass response was especially good and added a feeling of ferocity to the track. This was a terrific mix.
When we head to the DVD’s extras, we start with a Select Scene Commentary from special effects makeup Supervisor Greg Nicotero and actor Derek Mears. Their chat covers four scenes and lasts 25 minutes, 17 seconds. I get the impression these tidbits were cut from a full-length commentary, as it always sounds like we join Nicotero and Mears in the middle of matters.
Normally I’d prefer a longer chat, but since the pair don’t have that much to say in a program that barely lasts 25 percent of the film’s running time, I’m glad we got the shortened version. Nicotero tells us the most as he covers elements related to the movie’s practical effects and discusses the use of CG as well. He relates a little about changes made to the flick’s tone and also goes over stunts and various tidbits from the set.
Mears was the guy inside the suit, and he occasionally offers that perspective, though he mostly just jokes about various movie scenes. He enjoys picking on bad effects shots, and that gives the commentary a refreshingly subversive tone. Unfortunately, we don’t get all that much concrete information, so the track is only sporadically worthwhile.
Four featurettes follow. Behind the Fangs: The Making of Cursed starts with a seven-minute and 33-second general view of the production. Like the following programs, it mixes movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We find remarks from Mears, Nictoero, screenwriter/producer Kevin Williamson, and actors Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg, Joshua Jackson, Scott Baio, Mya, Portia de Rossi, Michael Rosenbaum, and Judy Greer.
They reflect on the werewolf genre and how Cursed tries to redefine it, stunts and fights, working in the werewolf costume and visual elements, director Wes Craven’s attitude on the set, and the museum’s mannequins, and the movie’s tone. Too much fluff appears to make this a strongly informative piece, but it has its moments. Some of the behind the scenes material is good, and we learn a smattering of factoids about the effects. It’s a painless program.
After this comes The Cursed Effects. It goes for six minutes, 45 seconds as it includes remarks from Nicotero, Mears, Greer,
It goes through Mears’ approach to working in the costume, werewolf transition shots, the mixture of practical and CG effects, the costume’s animatronic components, and bringing some particularly gruesome scenes to life.
The highlight here comes from the test footage of Joannie’s transformation scene, and we get some other strong notes about the visual elements. Some of the notes echo those from the Nicotero/Mears commentary, but a lot of new bits appear, and the video footage makes this piece fun.
Creature Editing 101 fills five minutes, 32 seconds and offers statements from editor Patrick Lussier. He discusses the general impact an editor can have and also tells us Craven shot Cursed to be “R”. Then he goes into the cuts made for the “PG-13” version as well as techniques used for editing horror flicks, concerns about how much to show the creature, attempts to make the werewolf look intelligent, and cutting among the various methods used to create the werewolf. I especially like Lussier’s details about the changes executed for the “PG-13” edition; between the lines, we can discern that the studio forced Craven to chop up his film for that rating, which probably explains why the director doesn’t participate in any of the DVD’s supplements. Lussier gives us an informative little chat.
Finally, Becoming a Werewolf fills seven minutes, 57 seconds with comments from Nicotero and Eisenberg. Initially it looks like it’ll offer a standard examination of the makeup used to transform actors, but it quickly subverts that expectation. Instead it shows Nicotero and Eisenberg in a glib, tongue in cheek view of their methods. It’s surprisingly amusing.
The disc opens with some ads. We get promos for Sin City, Scary Movie 3.5: The Unrated Cut, Prozac Nation and Hostage. All of these appear in the Sneak Peeks area along with clips for Dracula III: Legacy and Dimension Home Video.
With Cursed, Wes Craven tries to do for the werewolf flick what Scream did for slasher movies. He fails. Despite a few good action sequences, it seems uninspired and tedious. The DVD presents pretty good picture plus excellent audio and a few moderately tasty extras. Only die-hard horror fans are likely to get anything from this lackluster effort.