“Rosemary’s Baby” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 24
“This isn’t a dream! This is really happening!”
So, I was aware of Rosemary’s Baby only in the way that you’re semi-aware of something due to cultural influence. I knew it had a baby in it, and it was probably a demon baby or something. That’s about all I had going into it.
I also (rightfully predicted) that you probably would never see the baby, and that the film wasn’t really a capital-H Horror movie full of bloody murders and such.
I believe it’s more a testament to the original story that the film works than because of director Roman Polanski’s “vision”, or Mia Farrow’s naive performance. It’s because it’s the type of story that needs the slow burn. Its length is felt and makes you wonder why poor Rosemary can’t just figure things out sooner. It allows the viewer to let the terror unfold slowly and stealthily right up until the end.
It’s sufficiently creepy and disturbing, and the actors are mostly on point, but nothing about the filmmaking itself stood out as particularly memorable or stylish – save the few surrealistic dream sequences – but maybe the mostly naturalistic style was purposeful to get me to believe the events could be real. I picked out some of the more interesting shots for the matchups, but they’re few and far between.
Still, I’m glad to have finally seen it and know the full story behind such an iconic horror movie, and the sum of the movie’s components make for an entirely effective film.
Rosemary’s Baby was at the time of this review at #114 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #278 among the best films of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
Rosemary’s Baby vs. Below
I sought out Below due to Darren Aronofsky’s involvement as writer and producer, but ultimately it’s fairly forgettable. It’s not good, not bad, just average. Rosemary’s Baby is definitely above average.
Rosemary’s Baby vs. Pontypool
I really, really like Pontypool. It’s creative in a way that speaks to my sensibilities, and crafted in such a way that you immediately want to watch it again. It wins the match.
Rosemary’s Baby vs. The Purge
I am into the high concept horror of The Purge, but I don’t think it’s as well-crafted a tale as Rosemary’s Baby.
Rosemary’s Baby vs. Escape from New York
I just saw this! Kind of a difficult matchup here – fun and action-y versus psychological and unsettling. I have a feeling Rosemary’s Baby will stick with me longer.
Rosemary’s Baby vs. Iron Man 2
Yeah, Iron Man 2 is actually pretty decent, but Rosemary’s Baby stands taller as a film.
Rosemary’s Baby vs. Take Shelter
Take Shelter is another slow burn psychological tale, and one that I think is a bit underseen and underrated. I’m going to give it the nod here.
Rosemary’s Baby vs. Le samouraï
I was surprised to like Le samouraï as much as I did during this challenge, but it’s got a lot of character to it. It’ll win over Rosemary’s Baby.
Rosemary’s Baby vs. Labryinth
As much as the kid in me would fight for Jim Henson’s fantasy, it’s clear Rosemary’s Baby is the better film.
Rosemary’s Baby vs. Surrogates
Surrogates is pretty damn good – better than the reception it received. Still, not on the level of Rosemary’s Baby.
Rosemary’s Baby vs. The Lego Movie
There are some movies that as ideas should never work. The Lego Movie was one no one asked for, and no one expected to be even remotely decent. It defied all those expectations to become a true achievement. It will win the matchup for defying the odds against it.
Rosemary’s Baby is now ranked #399 out of 1452 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
It’s now my 10th favorite Psychological Horror Film I’ve seen and my 3rd favorite film I’ve seen from 1968 (behind Once Upon a Time in the West and 2001: A Space Odyssey).
My next trip of films will be Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Unforgiven. In the meantime, check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.