In one of Roger’s recent reviews, he mentioned seeing remakes of films before actually seeing the originals which they are based off of. The same thing happens to me all the time and one film that I just can’t seem to sit down and watch is the 1968 classic, Rosemary’s Baby. The difference is, however, there hasn’t been a straight-up film re-adaptation of the film, but an NBC mini-series instead.
Modern 4 hour mini-series adaptation of the classic novel by Ira Levin focusing on young Rosemary Woodhouse’s suspicions that her neighbors may belong to a Satanic cult who are hell-bent on getting one thing: the baby she is carrying.
Never having seen Roman Polanski’s horror hit, I have no idea what is similar and what is different in this 2014 re-imagining. I can base my thoughts solely on this 4-hour (3 hours without commercials) made-for-TV series. In the past, a horror film made specifically for TV wouldn’t necessarily appeal to me very much, but with the recent quality upgrade of horror on TV, anything is possible now. Shows like The Walking Dead, The Following, and Hannibal have all upped the ante on what networks are letting get by censors. The amount of blood and gore on The Walking Dead is understandable because, although AMC is widely available, it is still not considered a prime-time station. The impressive and surprisingly shocking stuff comes from the other shows I mentioned. The stuff shown on The Following and Hannibal is brutal and I honestly can’t believe how graphic those shows have gotten… and I love it! Rosemary’s Baby took that cue and ran with it.
Being a 4 hour series instead of your generic 90 minute film, it takes a bit longer for anything really horror-related to happen. When it does happen, boy, does it really turn things up! Gun shots, slit throats, and stabbings all look awesome in this practical-effects heavy production. An amazing surgery scene where a man’s entire insides are exposed really show that nothing is off-limits here. The second half of the series isn’t as gore-laden as the first, but by this time, we are already well on our way into the thick of things, so blood and carnage are really not as necessary.
Besides the outstanding effects work, the thing that really stands out about Rosemary’s Baby is the acting. This isn’t your average horror film where the performances can range from fantastic to piss poor in a matter of minutes. No. This was an extremely well-casted event that really does deliver. Zoe Saldana was extraordinary as Rosemary Woodhouse, the center of it all. The range of emotions Saldana had to display throughout this production was out of this world and she played everything off perfectly. She was not the only outstanding star here, though. The entire supporting cast did wonderfully, including Patrick J. Adams, Carole Bouquet, Christina Cole, James Isaacs, etc.
I missed this mini series when it originally premiered on network television, but I am extremely glad that I got a chance to sit down and fully enjoy what it had to offer. Fans of the original film may disagree with me, but it’s hard to dismiss a great re-imagining like this one. From the directors to the writers and producers, everyone did an awesome job and I highly recommend this to all your horror fanatics out there. I think creating a television mini-series based on horror classics is actually a really great way to differentiate from every other remake and reboot out there. I would love to see more films re-created in this manner and I look forward to any that may premiere.
If you’d like to check out Rosemary’s Baby, be sure to pick up a copy from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital HD.
I give it 4 organic herb drinks out of 5.