There are three versions of Cursed. One that is awesome, one that should never have been released, and one that was never released. You might be wondering how I know anything about the last one, and while details are scarce I can tell you right here and now that what details we have on it prove that it was the best of the trio. Unfortunately, the two versions which were released had their own issues. Almost all of these issues stemmed from the fact that the original version was probably fine and overzealous people decided it probably would have failed. The other issue, though, is picking out which parts are new and which ones are leftover from the original version. Here’s a brief explanation of the overall interesting process that is the film Cursed.
Cursed is about two siblings (in the unreleased version it’s about three friends, two of whom are played by Jesse Eisenberg and Christina Ricci in every version but are brother and sister in the two versions released) who find themselves attacked by a strange beast shortly after they watch it maul a poor, defenseless young woman. It turns out that they were attacked by a werewolf. Of course Ricci’s character, Ellie, is in denial about everything because she believes in things that are grounded in realism. Eisenberg’s character, Jimmy, totally believes in it and he gets a sort of Peter Parker-esque origin story. A bully who hates him, a pretty girl dating the bully who now likes him because she isn’t a shallow twit, and best friends who disappear when the plot is convenient.
The major difference between the two versions released are the rating, which left the gore on the cutting room floor. Mind you, this is a horror film. The major difference between those two and the unreleased version is the supporting cast and the plot! Reshoots were ordered because executives didn’t believe that it would do well at the box office (it’s always the executives who ruin good films and directors who ruin bad films, you know). Unfortunately for us, reshoots weren’t done until well over a year after the film was supposed to be released. These reshoots excised characters entirely, Skeet Ulrich played Ellie’s original love interest and was the third friend, Heather Langenkamp, Scott Foley (Of Scandal fame), Robert Foster, and Corey Feldman were all cut from the film.
Other actors, such as Michael Rosenbaum (who was, at the time, well known from being on Smallville and thus it’s strange how he isn’t credited anywhere in the film or on websites), Judy Greer, Milo Ventimiglia (who would become famous shortly thereafter on Heroes), Shannon Elizabeth, and Mya were all added in during reshoots. Where Joshua Jackson fits into all of this is strange and weird and we’ll never really know. The tone of the film was irreparably changed by this major upheaval and people noticed because it was rather glaring.
When you have a film, any film, don’t cut down to appease to a certain audience because you’ll invariably alienate that audience because they’re not stupid. An R-rated film should be released as an R-rated film and not cut down to PG-13 to reach “a wider audience.” It’s a stupid reason to cut a film and it resulted in Cursed failing spectacularly even though it’s a fun movie in and of itself.