Written By: CM
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Roman Polanski
Producers: William Castle
Screenplay: Roman Polanski
Date Released: October 17, 1968
Mia Farrow as Rosemary Woodhouse
John Cassavetes as Guy Woodhouse
Ruth Gordon as Minnie Castevet
Sidney Blackmer as Roman Castevet/Steven Marcato
Maurice Evans as Hutch
Ralph Bellamy as Dr. Abraham Sapirstein
Charles Grodin as Dr. Hill
Patsy Kelly as Laura-Louise
Angela Dorian as Terry Gionoffrio
Rating = 4/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
An ambitious budding actor Guy Woodhouse and his wife Rosemary are looking for a new home as they anticipate starting a family. When they found a conveniently-located apartment owned by an old lady who passed away, Rosemary immediately fell for its charm and convinced Guy to move in. The couple immediately bonded with the friendly next-door neighbors who helped Rosemary with her pregnancy. However, after experiencing complications, Rosemary starts realizing they might not be who they say they are.
There’s little to no gore in the film. However, the gore is manifested in the very disturbing and unsettling theme of the film itself. The predicament of the main character is overwhelming in terms of paranoia and total fear for her unborn child. It gives the audience the helplessness in conquering an evil cult. One of the most disturbing scenes is when Rosemary is raped by a demon that is implied as Satan. The scene is eerie and uncomfortable to watch, but it is shot in a surreal and disjointed manner.
The Grave Review
Right before the Me Too movement, there was the story of Rosemary Woodhouse. Narratives of women being dismissed as crazy have long been told in films from different genres, but it was in Rosemary’s Baby where the harsh reality was finally portrayed—and it was released 50 years before the movement.
This 1968 thriller was a game-changer, not only in horror but film in general. Both its story and artistic direction changed the way horror was perceived. Despite not having the magic of CGI and SFX, it managed to create spine-chilling scenes without showing flashing supernatural elements, gore, or shock. Perhaps one of its most shocking scenes involves some pathetic furry mascot—and it still works. Never mind its release year or outdated tricks, the film still scares viewers to this day.
While a few complained about its pacing and lack of traditional horror elements, one cannot deny the eerie feeling this film gives its viewers. The hypnotic rape scene alone is one of the scariest scenes in the history of the horror genre. How Rosemary wakes up and simply accepts the fact that her husband took advantage of her while she was drunk was reflective of the world people lived in during the 1950s. Watching the film now, one would say the scariest fact of the film is, well, being a woman.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) inspired a whole thread of horror films on cults and Satan worshippers. When it was first released, people were horrified at the fact that these twisted people might live next door and among regular people. Fast forward to five decades later, the hype is all about being fascinated with cults, demon worshippers, and normal-looking serial killers. Rosemary’s Baby simply isn’t shocking anymore, but what makes it age so well in this day and age is the social significance of its message. It depicts the fact that women during that period were helpless and powerless. This was flawlessly portrayed by Mia Farrow as she walked out of Dr. Hill’s hospital, stunned at his betrayal.
The film itself gave a new dimension in the horror genre. By not showing the face of her baby and leaving viewers up to their imagination, Rosemary’s Baby (1968) is proof that an effective horror film is all about cinematic timing, not effects. Since the release of this film, this plot has been reused over and over, but Rosemary’s Baby stands the test of time and manages to fabricate this horror sub genre.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Rosemary’s Baby (1968) four graves out of five graves.
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You may also like our review of 1976 film, Carrie.