The year is 1917 and the Battle of the Somme River is being fought, one of the most famous and bloodiest battles of the First World War. One British officer was wounded and taken to a Polish hospital where everything stinks of blood and amputated limbs. The doctor takes one bullet out of it, then another, and finally a third, a silver bullet that is completely different from the German ones. After this great introduction, the screenwriter, director and cinematographer of this horror, the British Sean Ellis (Metro Manila, Anthropoid) takes us back 35 years to the past, to the French province and to the estate ruled by the brutal nobleman Seamus Laurent (Alistair Petrie).
From the beginning to the end, I was a little confused that the action “The Cursed” is obviously taking place in France, and all the characters not only speak English, but also have typical Anglophone or Irish names. But despite this minor objection, “The Cursed” was a solid gothic horror in which Ellis finely mixed a typical horror theme with a kind of collective guilt of colonization, slavery, feudalism and centuries of oppression of the powerful over the weaker ones that prevailed in Europe. Those unfortunates who will feel all this injustice on their backs is a clan of gypsies who have been living on the land appropriated by Laurent for years.
Although it is clear to them that they are not doing well, they probably never dreamed that a horrific massacre would happen to them, which would soon be prepared for them by local nobles. Laurent and his mercenaries will go all the way to the unfortunate man who happened to be there, but before that they seemed to have a premonition of what might happen and cursed those who would harm them. So the gypsy curse will hover over the family of the cold-blooded Laurent and some creepy things will start happening there. Pathologist John McBride (Boyd Holbrook), an Vanhelsing-type man who had previously lost his wife and child, will also travel there. All this is happening during the cholera epidemic, people are superstitious, and only a wise and brave pathologist will be able to come to the conclusion that what is happening is not of this world and that only he can prevent it.
Ellis managed to create an uncomfortable atmosphere, a real gothic atmosphere of those once huge manors where it was constantly foggy, and the crumb thematically “The Cursed” reminded me of the already cult French “Wolf Brotherhood”. As the alternative title of the film “Eight for Silver” suggests, under which “The Cursed” premiered in Sundance, it’s not hard to imagine that this could be about some creatures that can obviously only be stopped by silver. Ellis solidly combined traditional horror with a brutal historical drama that openly recalls the great horrors that have taken place in Europe over the centuries when rich, privileged nobles could do without any responsibility what they wanted to their subordinates. But now that will change and the exploited will, if need be, rise from the dead to drink the blood of the exploiters.