Fear can cause people to make irrational decisions. Its effects are compounded when fear expands beyond a single person and flows through an entire community. It’s also the driving factor behind The Cursed Ones and shows what happens when superstitions take hold of a village.
Godwin Ezeudu (Oris Erhuero) is a journalist who has traveled to a remote village in West Africa to report on their annual hunting festival/ritual. Unfortunately the hunt doesn’t go as expected and the hunters return to the village empty-handed, a first in over 200 years of tradition. The villagers believe it to be the work of the devil, and accuse a young girl (Ama K. Abebrese) of being a witch who has placed a curse upon them all. While Pastor John Moses (Joseph Otsiman) puts his faith in God rid the village of evil, others look to a wandering shaman (Jimmy Jean-Louis) to protect them. As an outsider, Godwin does what he believes is best in order to save this girl from a village gripped by fear.
The Cursed Ones runs with the idea that fear can tear an entire village apart. It’s not so much scary as it is psychological, though. Oris Erhuero puts on a fantastic performance as the outsider looking into this fascinating culture that has their own rules and customs. At times he’s the voice of reason, but there are also times where what he believes is best actually causes trouble within the community. There are no moments of actual witchcraft or sorcery; it’s mostly just seen as the root cause of the village’s troubles. It can be slow at times, but it’s never uninteresting.
The Cursed Ones is an interesting movie that’s different from the usual fanfare you see. It’s a beautifully shot film with solid performances and even shines a light on the serious real world issues of fear that plague these small villages across the globe. Witches may not be real, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a real impact.