It looks like I’m finally ready for the sequel to that last film about the Cat People. Don’t mix it up with the Black Cat film that I recently saw though. While this film isn’t as exciting as the Cat People and there is certainly less action/horror, the film makes less slip ups and actually ends up being the better movie. Don’t go in expecting anything other than a slice of life story about a girl and her imaginary friend though. You could be disappointed otherwise.
After getting entangled in affair and letting his wife know that he no longer loved her, Oliver went on to marry Alice. Alice didn’t mind the shady circumstances of this, but grows concerned as Oliver continues to see his old wife in their daughter Amy. Amy claims to have been visited by the dead ex wife several times and Oliver always flies off the handle at this. He can’t seem to get over the past and it’s making things tough for Amy. As Amy drifts off further and further into dream world, Alice needs to figure out a way to make things right. Can she do it?
In case you don’t realize this, I did not like Oliver. For starters, he was a real piece of work in the first film. He went to great lengths to get Irena to forget about the Cat People and to live as a normal person and the ditched her as soon as she had conquered her fears. He even had an affair while he was still married so Irena ultimately murdered someone, but got murdered after that. Despite all of the obvious evidence, Oliver doesn’t believe that Irena could actually turn into a cat and while he can’t get over her himself, he wants Amy to do so. Oliver is rather unfair the whole time and even blames her when the other kids won’t hang out with her. It’s hardly Amy’s fault if the rest of the kids aren’t being nice. He also gives her an ultimatum that she has to lie to his face or get punished. Naturally, Amy makes the right call and tells the truth, but Oliver punishes her anyway. He’s constantly losing his mind over everything and even keeping a picture of Irena after claiming that he would burn them all was rather fishy. It makes sense that Alice wouldn’t react much since she is the one who broke up his last marriage, but it should be a sign to her that Oliver can’t really be trusted.
I don’t like Alice on principle, but she is certainly a lot more reasonable. She is willing to be patient with Amy and never throws things out of proportion. It’s not as if the imaginary friend phase would last all that long anyhow right? Amy’s also a nice enough kid. She does have a problem staying focused as she’ll just forget what she was thinking and go around to play. It’s not her fault if she’s a little scatter brained though and she does consistently try to do the right thing. The circumstances are just always against her. There was really no better ways for Amy to act as she made the right call each time so I was definitely on her side. The family’s butler was rather annoying though and kept adding fuel to the flame. He would let Oliver know that Amy was playing by herself and even when told to escort Amy to a seedy part of town, he couldn’t be bothered since he was cleaning. He gets scared of an old lady and while he is supposed to be the nice character of the film, he just seemed inconsistent. The biggest strike against him was still letting Amy go to the house by herself, that was just inconsiderate.
There was a subplot that felt completely unnecessary to the film, but I suppose it gave us the only element of danger. There was an old lady and her daughter who lived in an abandoned old house in a seedy part of the neighborhood. The old lady believes that her daughter is dead for some reason and is always talking about how her current daughter is an impostor. Unfortunately, the stress of constantly lying to herself every day eventually got to her and she had a fatal heart attack. Her daughter kept trying to convince the Mom that she was real, but it was to no avail. They had the same conversation maybe 4-5 times and afterwards the daughter decided that she’d murder a little kid to get the Mom to notice her. That’s when Amy walks in of course and it gets pretty tense. The camera moves around a bit and we get to see the daughter glare at Amy for a while. Luckily the power of friendship ultimately prevailed and you were left to question once again why the plot was actually there? The tense scenes were handled well I suppose, but the drama with the old lady forgetting her daughter just came out of nowhere. I also didn’t get what the film was going for with her theatrics, maybe it was just proving that she was totally insane? The other unnecessary moment in the film was when a butterfly dies when one of the other kids catches it. This is why I don’t trust kids around animals and while it was meant to show how mean kids can be, it wasn’t needed. As expected, Oliver was on the kid’s side and said that Amy shouldn’t care about butterflies. It goes to show you why he’s not a very good role model and why he is off his rocker the whole time. The guy’s moral priorities are all out of whack.
The main disappointing thing about the film though was that the ghost of Irena wasn’t actually real. That part was underwhelming since I was fully expecting her to be real the whole time. I was anticipating a big fight at the end where she would defeat the Daughter and save Amy instead of just showing up for words of encouragement. She was definitely a good friend for Amy to have and even received a Christmas gift, but the film heavily implies that she really was fake. You could make a case for her being real since Amy even gave her a present and it vanished, but she could have just as easily hid it in the tree. My personal stance is that Irena was made up and Oliver just pretended to see her as part of his agreement to play along with Amy from now on. Better late than never right? It just would have given the film so much more tension and intensity if Irena had really showed up. I was expecting a very different portrayal and appearance from her, but her personality was accurate at least. She never really wanted to hurt anyone and was a very nice character in the first film. It’s good to see that dying didn’t really change any of that.
Overall, The Curse of the Cat People is a very misleading title to what is actually a decent film. There are no curses and there are no Cat People in this film. The movie tries to be intense as Alice says things like “Irena has cursed us!” but there is no real reason for her to feel like that. Oliver hasn’t gotten over her, but that’s because he’s a bad character and it’s certainly no her fault. Maybe it’s just Alice’s guilty conscience reminding her that she indirectly murdered Irena in the last film. In that sense, it’s odd to see her and Oliver get a happy ending since they were basically the villains in the last film. I can’t root for them and it is annoying to see them as the leads, but if you ignore the first film then at least Alice is reasonable enough. Amy was good at any rate and it’s a nice calm film. I don’t really mind slice of life flicks as long as they’re written well and there was nothing wrong with this one. I’d recommend checking it out and the film is fairly short so it’s not as if it’ll drag on or anything. If it ever gets a third film though, I expect to see action of some sort.