Monday, August 12, 2013

Film Review: The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh (2013)

The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh (Review)
Canada/2013
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...unique in a genre filled with jump-scare or gory horror..."

After his estranged mother, Rosalind Leigh, mysteriously passes away, Leon visits her home to recollect and view his inheritance. But, things go bump at night and a mysterious presence is felt; and the further he digs into the history of his family and the house, the deeper Leon digs into his psyche...

The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh is an interesting little ghost story. Weighing in at a light 80 minutes, the story is fairly simplistic. Leon basically shuffles through the home -- getting deeper and deeper into the home's history and his own issues. But, really, that's about it. Leon simply walks around this spooky house and finds evidence of a cult and begins to question his sanity and religion. A mysterious creature also stalks from the shadows, up until the end where his presence is strong. The ending itself was a bit unfulfilling.

Rosalind Leigh relies on its spooky atmosphere and slow-burning pace to create a eerie experience. The house itself is an eerie character for the film -- one can argue that it has more depth than Leon -- as it conjures plenty of scares. There are a few effective jump-scares and some chilling visuals. The glowing eyes in the dark send chills down my spine; the creature itself was most effective when it subtly blended with the environment; it is occasionally overused, particularly during the final act, and feels completely misplaced. This is a case where less is more. The horror isn't the dark or gory, it's very practical, traditional, and slow; something to keep in mind for fans of contemporary horror.

The acting is solid, although the plot doesn't demand much from the (mostly) one man cast; the lead delivers everything competently, from dialogue to emotion, but, again, it doesn't demand much. The set design is great, really creating an effective character; the house is filled with dolls and statues, and other antiques, that are creepy on their own. The film is shot beautifully; there is one scene that made me dizzy, but the rest is captured smoothly. The music was also great in creating a haunted house vibe.

Overall, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh is a solid horror film -- the story is somewhat uneventful, despite the short runtime, the scares are light, and the pace is often too slow, but it's entertaining. It's also unique in a genre filled with jump-scare or gory horror -- it feels great to watch a slow-burning creeper every once in a while.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some disturbing visuals and blood.

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