The seventies hit a rage of possession films, The Exorcist, The Omen, and often forgotten of the obscure Audrey Rose, which starred Anthony Hopkins, all these hold one thing in common dealing with torments to and of a child. This supernatural flick from director Eddy Matalon with a flair of Canadian cinema qualities, sets itself into the future by two years, that’s correct Cathy’s Curse strangely chooses this path, however not the only weirdness element as one discovers. Eddy assisted by writers Myra Clement and Alain Sens-Cazenave, however none of them ever worked on a horror flick before (only Alain went onto work 2 more in horror pictures after Matalon’s feature) which explains quite a bit when trying to understand the storyline of the film, originally entitled Nightmares, and received recently Blu-ray distribution Severin Films.
Cathy’s Curse focuses on the tale of a child haunted by her dead aunt or maybe a doll, understanding it is becomes just one of the hurdles for the audience to understand. Basically the movie opens with a father and his daughter dying in a fireball crash as he swerved and lost control of his car all for the opening credits. The deceased girl’s brother George Gimble (Alan Scarfe) now grown and working for someone never clearly told whom returns, years later, back to original family home with his wife Vivian (Beverley Murray) and daughter, Cathy (Randi Allen). Cathy, as many children do when at a new location, they investigate, hence the curiosity always kill, she finds a doll belonging to her aunt quickly becomes possessed no suspense, directly to the point, she begins creating chaos destroying items, hurting other and off-color language, with her favorite word ‘whore’. Therefore, most of the movie does nothing quite explosive everything stays on an even keel, sorry possession loving fans. The film tries to create an atmosphere of its own but results in dull scenery along with a structure, which strives to advance yet poor dialogue and dry acting especially when a house cleaner suddenly falls through second story window and dies. No hysterical screaming, nothing, recall from The Omen (1976), when the nanny hangs herself, the bloodcurdling screams, a glimpse of Damien, nothing like that exists in this flick. It creates from here misaligned scenes, the rest of the story seems off, Cathy provides some creepy looks, but her father just plods aimlessly through, now could he under a spell perhaps but face it never truly works. If one seeks just one standout scene, watch for Cathy’s mother bathing moment, resting her eyes and suddenly screaming as leeches suckle her precious skin.
Most paranormal or possession films rely on the jump shock, or a few whirls of the CGI effects, however neither existed for Cathy’s Curse, the scares never developed, perhaps except mom’s bathtub scene, however to the trained horror fan, the build-up takes too long, hence telegraphing something is going to happen. If you not the house cleaner, one wonders why she stands by the window for so long, yes here it comes – the crash, this never works correctly, lessons learned long ago.
The movie lacks the proper pacing, it feels at times to sleepwalk, and other moments a sense of urgency, it sometimes reflects on the lack understanding for a horror movie, but this excuse can’t rescue it from the horrendous editing. Some scenes almost encourage the actors to force both chemistry and emotions, nothing feels natural, an absent of smooth transliteration, the dialogue suffers greatly as if the writers never gave the actors any working space for the characters to grow, treating the fans as cardboard cutouts, sit and watch.
Now the saving grace for Cathy’s Curse comes in the form of the special features, including an alternate cut for the U.S. release, along with interviews with both Eddy and Randi, both highly enlightening, while the movie doesn’t deliver on the thrills or chills, more than enough bonus material makes for one to at least consider purchasing this special edition.