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December 16, 2014

Movie Review: Rosemary’s Baby (2014)

Trust me. If this remake hadn’t been included in my latest CHC package, I never would have watched it. It’s not necessarily a film that makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a spork previously used by a leper with herpes but it’s not something I would recommend anyone else watch. Ever.

Rosemary’s Baby, for those of you that don’t know, was a narrow book written by Ira Levin in 1967. It was originally adapted for the screen in 1968 starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, and directed by Roman Polanski. The basic premise of the story is as follows (again, for you newbs - spoilers ahead):

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse move into a high rise apartment building. Quickly befriended by an older couple, Minnie and Roman Castevet, who seem to be benefactors and meddlers at the same time. Guy is a struggling actor but things quickly fall into place for his success, mainly by the competition going inexplicably blind. Coincidence this happens AFTER Guy befriends the old couple? Wait and see, young viewer.

Guy and Rosemary decide to have a baby and on the night of conception, Rosemary is drugged and hallucinates being raped by a demon. Or does she? Now pregnant, her first few months are agony - constant pain, nausea, weight loss. Though her friends try to convince her to seek help, she trusts the advice of the doctor recommended by the Castevets. When her pregnancy improves, she seems to forget about all her previous worries.

Why are there never any mother fucking Oreo's in this god damned house!!
Eventually Rosemary stumbles on the secret of the building in which she lives: it’s inhabited by a bunch of Satanists and they want her baby. But not for a ritual sacrifice, as she believes. Her baby is actually the son of Satan and though she feels she should destroy him, being his mother, she chooses to take care of him instead.

The original film in 1968 was phenomenal. Seems very true to the novel and the casting is excellent. Even today, watching this movie, I am creeped out and fascinated at the same time. Why, oh why, movie land felt it necessary to create a remake is beyond me. It was also filmed as a television miniseries so it ended up being 3 hours long - approximately 45 minutes longer than the original. 

This remake stars Zoe Saldana (whom I love) as Rosemary. And while she does a good job, she just doesn’t pull me into her world as well as Mia Farrow did. The baddies of Roman and Margaux Castevet, played by Jason Isaacs and Carol Bouquet, are mildly disturbing. Patrick Adams, Guy Woodhouse, did a really great job of displaying his guilt  at least for the audience. We can see how much he’s struggling with the choices he’s made and the people he’s aligned himself with. Very believable for the most part.

How YOU doin'?
But the story is drawn out so much more that tension can’t build properly. It just felt like a series of plot points being explained in a PowerPoint presentation. However, in the remake we get to see the deaths of those that get in the way of these people. In the original, and the book, people get sick or maimed. In this, we get to see a lot of quality kills. My personal favorite was Garbage Truck + Meddling Good Guy = Bloody Smear. Well, the surgery scene was pretty gruesome, too. Actually they were all pretty sweet.

These visceral murders can’t really make up for the lackluster feel of the entire film, though. It just wasn’t necessary to remake a movie that stands the test of time and is an effective scare 40+ years later. I say skip it and watch the original.

1 Hatchet (out of 5)

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