The Accursed Finds Itself Cursed With Generic Story, Lack of Scares

Halloween may be over but that doesn’t mean the genre sleeps. Plenty of horror movies are still making their way out to streaming and VOD platforms. Unfortunately for the recently released The Accursed, it’s one year removed from another movie called – yes, The Accursed. Starring Mena Suvari and The Order’s Sarah Grey, Willy’s Wonderland director Kevin Lewis helms this story of witches, demons, and family curses. To date, The Accursed has flown under the radar with only a handful of reviews.


Mary Lynn and her daughter take revenge on a local witch, Ms. Ambrose, but she survives. Several months later, Elly returns to the same small town to attend to her recently deceased mother’s affairs. Before she leaves town, however, Elly agrees to care for a comatose women in a remote cabin – Ms. Ambrose. While she tends to the enigmatic woman, strange events and a possible connection to her dead mother increasingly haunt Elly.

The Accursed Suffers From Pacing Problems and a Sense of Deja Vu

Everything starts off very promising for The Accursed. That opening scene – even if some parts feel familiar – still strikes a chord. Director Kevin Lewis (Willy’s Wonderland) soaks the first moments with notable atmosphere. Even if its ‘cabin in the woods’ and ‘dark magic’ vibes recall plenty of other horror movies the prologue delivers an instant surprise. At the very least, The Accursed hints at a stylish genre entry that entertains. But it’s all downhill once the credits roll across the screen. Two problems immediately stand out.

And when the screenplay isn’t marching out cliches, it’s stretching plausibility.

On one hand, The Accursed recycles a healthy helping of horror tropes. Whether it’s the remote cabin setting or an estranged protagonist returning to their hometown to settle a parent’s affairs, writer Rob Kennedy knows and loves the genre. Unfortunately, his screenplay doesn’t have much to add. Creepy record players, useless police officers, and a best friend whose sole purpose is to dig up some exposition and then die all pop up. And when the screenplay isn’t marching out cliches, it’s stretching plausibility. In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine anyone – particularly the protagonist’s age – not owning a cellphone. Just the plot point that gets Elly out to the cabin feels contrived. Second, The Accursed is often a very movie. Most of its second act stretches out endlessly with few genuine scares. Lewis settles into a plodding pace that the climax can’t climb out of.

The Accursed Lacks the Substance to Makes Its Bigger Themes Work

Arguably, the lack of scares stands out as The Accursed’s biggest problem. Not every movie needs a shocking twist or unique premise to work as good horror. But Lewis struggles to conjure up much in the way of suspense or jumps scares. There’s little sense of urgency regardless of what’s happening on the screen. The climax is perfunctory and a disturbing final image feels too little, too late. One also senses that Lewis and Kennedy are stiving for a more poignant movie. Elly’s story is about a broken maternal relationship, grief, and trauma. Yet The Accursed never really dives deep into the theme, which has already been done better this year, most recently with Matriarch. Most viewers will also see the twists coming long before they unfold.

The climax is perfunctory and a disturbing final image feels too little, too late.

On the plus side, The Accursed includes a handful of good performances. It’s always see nice to see Mena Suvari (What Lies Below, Day of the Dead) turn up regardless of the film quality. Not surprisingly, Suvari’s performance outreaches the limits of the screenplay. Fans of the silly but sort of fun Netflix werewolf series The Order will immediately recognize Sarah Grey. Though Grey’s ‘Elly’ feels a bit one-dimension that’s less to do with the performance and more fairly attributed to the screenplay. The supporting cast rounds itself out with likable performances from Sarah Dumont (Scout’s Guide to the Apocalypse) and Alexis Knapp (Pitch Perfect). Maybe the worst offence committed by The Accursed is the extent to which it wastes Meg Foster (Lords of Salem, Overlord).

The Accursed Recycles Too Many Clichés to Be Memorable

After a fantastic opening scene, The Accursed falls into familiar storytelling and tired scares. In addition to sluggish pacing, the supernatural thriller occasionally tosses out some head-scratching moments. Of course, the problem is that it never makes you can care enough about what’s happening on screen to get frustrated with those moments. While the filmmakers show an obvious love for horror movies, they struggle to do much other than recycle clichés. Bottom line, The Accursed isn’t a bad movie – in fact, it’s perfectly watchable. But there’s not much to recommend and audiences aren’t likely to walk away thinking about this one again.


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I am a Criminology professor in Canada but I've always had a passion for horror films. Over the years I've slowly begun incorporating my interest in the horror genre into my research. After years of saying I wanted to write more about horror I have finally decided to create my own blog where I can share some of my passion and insights into the films I love.

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