is time to put the grim back in Grimm’s. This is not a teen-angst television
fairy tale. The Briar Rose fable of Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm has
been transformed into a contemporary horror film—finally. She is still waiting
to be kissed, but there are some pretty sinister creatures guarding her in
Pearry Reginald Teo’s The Curse of
Sleeping Beauty (trailer
which opens this Friday in Los Angeles.
Kaiser never knew he had an uncle, but the reclusive old man just bequeathed him
the family mansion. Unfortunately, the ramshackle haunted house makes Grey Gardens
look like Falling Water. It is probably no joke about it being haunted. People
seem to disappear there, like Linda’s brother. Ever since, she has been
obsessed with the property and its murky history. Frankly, she seems to know
more than he does when he first arrives. However, he quickly realizes the house
is related to his reoccurring dreams of the princess in a magically-induced
good news is Briar Rose must be close, because Kaiser can finally talk to her
in their shared dreams. The bad news is Kaiser’s spirit has been supernaturally
bound to the property he was hoping to flip. Prolonged time away from Casa
Kaiser leaves him drained and disoriented, whereas his cursed bloodline offers
some limited protection from the bad stuff lurking about. He will need all the
help he can get when he ventures into the bowels of the house with Linda and
her slightly eccentric Van Helsing-esque pal Richard.
Kaiser lives in a world where Perrault, the Grimms, and Giambattista Basile
never lived, because the name Briar Rose does not mean anything to anybody.
However, old Richard is highly conversant in ancient demons and djinns, which
comes in handy. Regardless, Teo and co-screenwriter Josh Nadler cleverly
incorporate and subvert elements of the classic fairy tale in their adaptation
of Everette Hartsoe’s graphic novel. They make intriguing use of ancient lore
and modern technology (although not to the extent of the already under-rated The Offering).
Eisley is the perfect choice for Briar Rose, being lovely and eerily young
looking, but “distant,” like a porcelain doll. Ethan Peck (grandson of Gregory)
is surprisingly convincing and rather intense as the anti-social and
paranormally-afflicted Kaiser. Oscar-nominated character actor Bruce Davison (Longtime Companion) has fun with Richard’s
flaky persona, constantly giving the film an energy boost. Restoration’s Zack Ward only has two brief scenes, but he still
delivers some of the film’s best lines. Altogether, it is a pretty strong
ensemble, with True Blood’s Natalie
Hall gamely soldiering through the standard genre stuff her Linda is stuck with.
is quite an impressive genre production,
especially with respects to the infernal set pieces created by production
designer Alessandro Marvelli, art designer Chris Scheid, and their teams.
Likewise, the Briar Rose costume fits the film’s tone perfectly. It is a smart,
ambitious indie dark fantasy/horror film worth your consideration. Recommended
for those who did not think Tale of Tales
was sufficiently macabre, The Curse
of Sleeping Beauty opens this Friday (5/13) in Los Angeles, at the Arena Cinema.
Labels: Briar Rose, Bruce Davison, Fairy tale cinema, Horror Movies