THE CURSE OF SLEEPING BEAUTY
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)
CAPSULE: In a really different and creative horror film
three worlds come together in an old mansion that seems
to bring together our world with a world of demons and
a third where the story of Sleeping Beauty is working
itself out. A modern man inherits the mansion and the
curse that goes along with it. The curse draws him into
a Grimm's fairy tale and a world of horror. Pearry
Reginald Teo directs a script he co-wrote with Josh
Nadler. This is a fantasy/horror film that is at least
as original and audacious as any horror film I have seen
this year. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10
You may remember the story of the Grimms' fairy tale "Sleeping
Beauty" if not from the Brothers Grimm than from the Disney
animated cartoon adaption of the story. (There are actually
several other versions.) Princess Briar Rose pricks her finger on
a spinning wheel spindle and falls into an apparently endless coma-
like sleep. There she remains until rescued by a handsome prince
who kisses her and awakens her back to life. THE CURSE OF SLEEPING
BEAUTY has (among other things) yet another pass at the story. But
it is just a part of the horror existing here. Thomas Kaiser
(played by Ethan Peck) inherits an old mansion that has been in his
family for decades. But it is the home of a curse on the family
that goes back something like nine centuries.
Under the title curse, Thomas must keep at bay the demons who haunt
the castle first in his dreams and later in more corporeal form.
And he must search for Briar Rose the beauty he sees appearing
asleep in his own dreams. Somehow he seems to be at the nexus of
at least three worlds, one in the modern 21st century, another in
the world of Grimms' fairy tales, and another in the dark
threatening world more grim than the grimmest of Brothers Grimms'
fairy tales. Well, fairy tales and horror have always had a close
connection. The story starts a little slow, but soon shakes that
off. One problem with the film is that there are characters
talking in strange voices that are a little hard to understand.
This complicates deciphering the end of the story.
One of the real heroes of the film is production designer
Alessandro Marvelli who gives us an extremely spooky yet artistic
house with statues and mannequins: things that are human or maybe
just not quite. It just adds to a palpable chill. The fairy tale
lands are presented almost poetically like scenes from picture
One thing that stands out to anyone educated in STEM fields: we
have a computer whiz doing work on data found. He says his current
software re-uses logarithms that were used for a previous project.
Apparently nobody present knew a logarithm from an algorithm.
Mixing a fairy tale with what is mostly a horror film is an
audacious approach, but the script does not give the story time to
flesh out the two fantasy worlds. Still, the film is a fresh idea
in a genre where too many ideas are overused and stale. I rate THE
CURSE OF SLEEPING BEAUTY a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.
THE CURSE OF SLEEPING BEAUTY will be in theaters on May 13th and on
VOD and iTunes on May 17th.
What others are saying: <http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_curse_of_sleeping_beauty/>
Mark R. Leeper
Copyright 2016 Mark R. Leeper
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