A chill from the past: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

 

Film review by Bence Janek

 

Nowadays, when the plot of horror movies has nothing but senseless bloodbath, mutilated human bodies and torture, it can enhance the value of an old, creative and smart horror movie such as Rosemary’s Baby directed by Roman Polanski.  It was his first American feature film, based on Ira Levin’s best-selling novel with the same title.

 

There was a time when people were not afraid during horror movies because of its technical effects but were freaked out rather its spooky plot. Rosemary’s Baby is a hard, occultist psychological thriller that is about the suffering of a pregnant woman. The film’s “evil surrounding us” theme is similar to the old-time classics like The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976).

 

In 1965, new tenants, Guy Woodhouse (John Cassavetes) a young, talented actor and his wife, Rosemary (Mia Farrow), arrive in a Manhattan apartment. They are a newlywed couple that is planning to start a family. Guy makes a friend, their elderly next-door neighbors, Roman and Minnie Castevet (Sidney Blackmer and Ruth Gordon). Soon, his acting career turns promising. One day his wife has a nightmare about a Beast coming up from hell and raping her. By the time she realizes that it was not a dream, but reality, she discovers her neighbors are the servants of Satan: “all of them witches.”

 

The most creepy line of the film is that Rosemary’s pregnancy is far from ordinary. She has unbearable pain, weight loss, and pale skin because she carries the Antichrist in her womb. It is important to know that the mother is Christian, therefore her dilemma is the subject of one of the main questions of the film: Should a mother kill her own child or not, even if her child will burn every Christian church and destroy Christianity? What is more important: the motherhood or the faith?

 

In 1969, Mia Farrow won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress in Drama. and Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

 

The weakness of the film is that some parts are too slow and nothing happens. On the other hand, its length is 150 minutes, which is simply too much, many scenes could have been left out.

 

Rosemary’s Baby is not recommended to religious people and pregnant women.

 

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