dir. Phedon Papamichael
Thomas Dekker (Heroes (TV), 2006-2007)
Adam Goldberg (Dazed and Confused, 1993)
Jared Harris (Lost in Space, 1998)
This movie is about a small, intensely Christian town which becomes subject to a series of apparent suicides. It is soon revealed, however, that the true cause is a curse cast by the vengeful sons of a pagan woman who was lynched for a crime she did not commit. The protagonist is a girl who is dating the pastor's son, but dumps him for the sensitive bad-boy. There's a race to undo the curse before the angry townsfolk kill the cute boy, while our Heroine races to save her new BF and her town, and not strangle herself death in the process.
No character was more irritating in this movie than the pastor's son, who, as the token best friend points out, "is the closest thing to royalty in this town." His radical turnover from a pleasant, trust-in-God's-will, sort of Christian to a kill-all-infidels sort of zealot is alarming and unexplained. By the end, he has replaced his father as the leader of the community and is willing to kill anyone and break any rule in the pursuit of his goal, which is to destroy the sensitive bad-boy who practices an alternative religion.
I can't help but point out that of the six possessions that occurred in this movie, only one of them was a man, and his "suicide" wasn't even an articulated scene, just a cutaway to a pair of hanging feet. I guess I won't go further into that because apparently some people get a little uncomfortable when I discuss the representation of gender in horror movies, and I'd hate for anyone to start thinking I was one of those "uppity" sorts of women that points out totally obvious patterns such as this and asks, why? Why is it so much more fascinating to see a girl covered in blood? Why does it seem so much more insidious when a girl is penetrated by a dark, uncontrollable force?
But we're not going to worry about those uncomfortable ideas, even though there's barely a point in blogging about movies if we aren't going to acknowledge such a blatant recurring theme.
It's a shame that I got all passive-aggressive here. I had some points to make about the title's metaphor. How the destruction manifested by the curse was actually a reflection of the town's dark secret, the murder of pagan woman referred to earlier, and the truth behind the murder she was killed for. She was scapegoated, sacrificed so the town, as an entity, could persevere in the face of irreconcilable iniquity. In turn, the nature of curse is that can only drive you to destroy yourself, it has no power beyond that. So the townsfolk are forced to turn their destruction back upon themselves in order to atone for the violence that came from within. Bang! I figured it out.