Movie Review: “The Curse of Sleeping Beauty”

curse

But but but…

I thought “The Curse of Sleeping Beauty” was a children’s film!

Not animated? In 3D? No true love’s kiss, and all that?

Well, sort of.

It’s a haunted house story, though it doesn’t start that way.

Thomas (Ethan Peck, grandson of Gregory) is having nightmares. He’s in a desert, walking up on this canopy bed that’s surrounded by ancient Egyptian totems.

There’s a girl (India Eiseley), impossibly pale sleeping in a bustier to die for.

And just as he’s about to impose a smooch on her, Thomas always wakes up.

“Sleep paralysis,” his shrink advises. OK.

Maybe he’d buy that, but Thomas then inherits this rural, antebellum-styled mansion. His Uncle Clive, whom he never knew existed, left it to him. And did him no favors. Kaiser Gardens is a ruin. People disappear there — and have for years.

His uncle killed himself. Good luck finding a realtor who can sell that.

Linda (Natalie Hall) shows up with a grudge. She lost her brother and that house had something to do with it. She links up with a paranormal investigator (Bruce Davison of “Willard” fame). And they in turn link up with a computer -nerd researcher, stereotypically played by an Asian American (James Adam Lim).

Cobwebs and shadows aren’t enough to make a house spooky on the big screen any more. Adding manikins? Been there, seen that.

The effects — monsters, demons — are mildly chilling.

But Josh Nadler’s script is amateurish in the extreme. A dead give-away? Establishing/explaining locations with words, not images.

“Welcome to my home!” “Welcome to my SECRET lair!”

Welcome to my eye-roll.

The mansion has a basement, but there’s no use yelling “DON’T go in the BASEMENT!”

No point of anybody asking “Is that blood?” Because, you know, we can SEE it.

A couple of non-horror related amusing lines wither and die of loneliness. The actors have nothing to draw on and little to play, so they just mimic expressions and gestures they’ve seen in other horror movies.

There’s nothing at all here to hold your interest, nothing out of the horror movie trope ordinary to see and “Curse’s” utterly generic story and execution offer no object lesson in “What NOT to do when making a horror movie.”

 

Except maybe look a little deeper than the Brothers Grimm for your source material. The whole Sleeping Beauty connection is lame and forced and adds nothing except “public domain” to your screenplay.

1star6

MPAA Rating: unrated, with violence

Cast: Ethan Peck, India Eisely, Natalie Hall, Bruce Davison, James Adam Lim
Credits: Directed by , script by . An XLRator Media release.

Running time: 1:26

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