CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE is quite unlike its predecessor in many ways. The story finds Oliver and Alice, the protagonists of the original, concerned over their young daughter Amy as she begins to exhibit a series of off-putting childhood fantasies and delusions, the most alarming of which involves her imaginary friend that has taken the form of the obsessive Irena from the previous film. Parallels are drawn between Amy's dream world and Irena's spiraling madness that was brought on by her superstitious belief in the cat people. This transposes the 'curse' from the physical transformation that was alluded to in the first into a psychological condition brought on by isolation and loneliness. Subtle shifts between fantasy and reality are carefully crafted in the exteriors and lighting, while the same sharp contrasts and clean, precise cinematography are maintained throughout the rest of the picture. Although there are many ties to the original established through the returning characters and similar themes, CURSE unfolds as a dark childhood fantasy rather than the suspenseful mystery that was found in CAT PEOPLE. With a superb cast acting under seasoned genre vet Robert Wise's direction, CURSE functions as a successful companion to Tourneur's masterpiece.
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