Werewolf movies have been a part of the cinematic lexicon for as long as I can remember. Sean Ellis’ “The Cursed,” which hits theaters this weekend, doesn’t add to the mythological nature of this type of story.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing either.

“The Cursed” manages to elevate itself above its station through inventive use of atmospherics and relatively strong casting in the form of Boyd Holbrook and Alistair Petrie. The rolling hillside country in nineteenth-century England is the site of a curse following the slaughter of a clan who has claimed a centralized area of land, encumbering on several wealthy land barons, including Seamus Laurent (Petrie).

The land barons want their land back, and they do so by force. Interestingly, Ellis, who also served as cinematographer and wrote the script, shot the skirmish from a distance. You can follow the beats around the screen as the land barons’ men charge the clan if you pay close attention. This wide shot extended familiarity within the genre. With that wide shot, we’re not predisposed to feel empathy for the events in this scene. Ellis’ shot of Seamus on his steed from a distance is a familiar, imposing pose – they’ve regained control of what was theirs without even a thought of consequence; this is where “The Cursed” runs afoul and manages to frustrate at the same time. We have an idea of what is about to unfold, or rather what has already transpired, as John McBride (Holbrook) arrives in town to study a recent, unexplained death. Seamus has existed in denial of those past events, and as a pathologist, John aims to solve the mystery.

Though uniquely framed and designed exceptionally well for the period, Ellis’ story uses a tried and true methodology to carry the story forward. We are not inclined to relate to these characters, nor are we necessarily frightened by its reveal.

What “The Cursed” does get right is the unique way Ellis framed his story. To give more detail about it would be to give way to a spoiler, and then you’d roll your eyes at me if you aren’t already doing so. Be that as it may, the opening and closing frames are situated such that the time of Seamus Laurent is in the past, and by doing the story in this fashion, we get to see what kind of men Seamus and John are. Holbrook plays coy perfectly in the chaos and confusion.

The beast, as it were, when fully exposed on screen, is a treat; that’s the other area the film gets right. Ugly as sin and intentionally so, we recoil at its sight and movement. Ellis’s story is also about its beats; the clan’s slaughter is one example. We also see similar moments in how Ellis manages the beast on the screen in the third act; we are inclined to recoil at its familiarity. The danger lurks in the shadows, so there is plenty to like for horror or genre fans.

Ultimately, “The Cursed” has trouble getting out of its own way.