MOVIE REVIEW | ***HALLOWEEN WEEK*** Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

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“We’re your friends, Rosemary. There’s nothing to be scared about. Honest and truly there isn’t!”

Things don’t get much more of the time in hip film making, than the late 60s, Roman Polanksi, Mia Farrow and John Cassvetes. Polanksi was a European wunderekind making his first American movie. Farrow was married to Frank Sinatra. And Cassavetes was a bad ass indie film maker who was the epitome of an artist. So when they all got together to make Rosemary’s Baby, it’s no wonder the end result was one of the most highly regarded horror movies of all time.

It’s hip and happening New York City in the 60s, and hip and happening young couple Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Guy (John Cassavetes) move into a new apartment. Vacant after the death of its last tenant, the apartment offers a few small oddities, but nothing that can’t be covered by new wall paper and rugs. After hearing their neighbours through the paper thin walls, Rosemary and Guy soon meet them in person. Minnie (Ruth Gordon) and Roman (Sidney Blackmer) are a couple of sweet oldies who are more than happy to help the young couple in any way they can.

While Guy works as a struggling actor, Rosemary works as a struggling wannabe mother. Unable to get pregnant, Rosemary has a nightmare one night that she is being raped by some sort of monster or demon, while her new neighbours, Guy and a dozen other weirdos stand around, naked and chanting. When she falls pregnant, Rosemary starts to think that maybe it wasn’t a nightmare at all.

Rosemary’s Baby is one of the few horror movies to have a reputation as a genuinely scary horror, and genuinely well made, highbrow film. Roman Polanski manages to create a world that is totally real, and also home to the physical incarnation of Satan. That’s no easy feat. He also manages to create a general vibe of creepiness long before anything overtly creepy happens. Rosemary’s Baby is on edge from the second it starts. And the fact that the cause of that edginess is totally unknown for the first act or so, makes it all the more unsettling.

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I had seen Rosemary’s Baby once before, probably about 20 years ago. Even after all that time, I remembered the story the twists and all the big reveals in surprisingly clear detail. Yet that never stopped me from being creeped out, shocked and feeling the scares of this movie as they played out. Rosemary’s Baby is the kind of movie that proves high concept genre, and highbrow art, can coexist.

Rosemary’s Baby
Directed By – Roman Polanski
Written By – Roman Polanski

Other Opinions Are Available. What did these people have to say about Rosemary’s Baby?
The Guardian
The New York Times
Twenty Four Frames

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