CURSED Review: Netflix's Lady Of The Lake Story Should Have Stayed Submerged
We're all aware that Netflix's original content can be hit or miss, and unfortunately for Cursed, this latest retelling of the story of King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake falls into the latter category.
Cursed, which is based on the graphic novel of the same name from Tom Wheeler and Frank Miller, is Netflix's retelling of the age-old tale of King Arthur and Excalibur, but this time the focus is placed on a young girl with a mysterious power who is destined to become the tragic Lady of the Lake.
It's a different approach to a story that's been hammered into the ground at this stage, but it soon becomes clear that Cursed is not really interested in attempting anything new or original beyond its intriguing premise.
Shunned by villagers who believe she's a witch (even though the fact that their elders are all clearly witches doesn't seem to bother them), Nimue (13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford) embarks on a quest to deliver a powerful sword (yes, that one) to Merlin the magician (Gustaf Skarsgård). Along the way she encounters a young mercenary named Arthur (Devon Terrell), and from there it's pretty much business as usual as our heroes attempt to evade the fanatical Red Paladins led by Father Carden (Peter Mullan).
A predictable or cliched story isn't always the kiss of death (we wouldn't all be avid comic book movie fans if it was), but it does become a more glaring issue when pretty much every other aspect of the production is lacking. Everything about this show just feels lackluster, poorly developed and budget Game of Thrones. The performances are fine for the most part (Langford is the standout), but the woeful dialogue they're forced to spout means everyone still comes across a little stilted. The action scenes and fight choreography also leave a lot to be desired, with far too many badly edited shots, cutaways, and some very silly-looking slow-mo.
There are some creative flourishes that work quite well (animated interludes are used to connect scenes) and a few surprises here and there which suggest that the show may have been going down a less pedestrian path at one point, but they are too few and far between to make much difference to what amounts to a wholly underwhelming experience.
If by some miracle you're fully invested in the characters, the last couple of episodes do pull things together reasonably well and set up what could be a more accomplished second season. But honestly, you'll be doing well to make it that far!
If you're looking for a more teen-focused take on Arthurian Legend... watch the recent Guy Ritchie movie! Cursed has its moments and the continuation of the story has some potential, but for the most part, this Lady of the Lake should have stayed submerged.