Director: Pearry Reginald Teo
Writers: Josh Nadler (screenplay), Pearry Reginald Teo (screen story), Everette Hartsoe (based on the comic book by), Brothers Grimm (story)
Stars: Ethan Peck, India Eisley, Natalie Hall
A barefoot man walks the wasteland, looking lost and vulnerable. He eventually comes across a tent, elaborate statues outside of it. Upon entering the tent he sees a sleeping woman (Eisley). Naturally said man tries to kiss this sleeping beauty and as he is about to do so starts to suffer from some kind of convulsions and fits. He then immediately wakes up in his apartment.
Thomas (Peck) is an artist that spends far too much time indoors after the death of his partner. A friend comes round daily to check up on him and bring groceries. Whilst seeing his psychiatrist, we find out that these dreams are recurring and she thinks there are specific reasons for them and that he needs to move on with his life, a sentiment shared by his friend. Shortly afterwards, Thomas is informed that his uncle (who he has never spoke to) has died and left him his property, a very creepy old house with secrets yet to be discovered.
Now while I really enjoyed this film I’m struggling to put my finger on what exactly is wrong with it. Teo is obviously a talented director and one would imagine being from Singapore, that it is rather difficult to get noticed or taken seriously by the Hollywood elite. Thus as a director, his films seem to suffer from low budgets and I also think that trying to do the writing as well is hindering him. Hopefully his newer productions where he just directs will fare somewhat better. I’ll certainly be checking them out at some point.
Anyway, based on the comic of the same name by Everette Hartsoe, which was loosely based up on the short story Briar Rose by the Brothers Grimm, The Curse of Sleeping Beauty is a stylish and atmospheric tale. At times the atmosphere is good with good build ups. Story starts off well but at other times it is very cliched. The audio is reasonable for this kind of production and the music is fantastic, with many medieval type scores littered throughout.
The sets and locations are also fantastic, especially the washed out dream sequences which have a haunting quality all of their own, in stark contrast to the rest of the film. Cinematography is also better than one would expect, yet some of the quick cuts let an otherwise good production down. I would say that the script if anything lets the film down the most with some of it not being the best stuff you will have ever heard. Overall I thought this was a pretty good film that I had no prior knowledge of nor expectations. Sometimes going into a film blind can be a good thing.
My major gripe would be with the middle of the film and the ending (which is very sudden and open ended). I’m not sure what Teo was after here, either an open-ended, decide for yourself angle or possibly wanting a sequel at some point. The only problem here is that neither really work well withing the framework of the movie. Half way through, the film almost starts to become a different beast to what has come before (which is fantastic) and ends as something completely different. If the intention was a decide for yourself scenario, it feels much too rushed.
If the ending was supposed to be a set finale intending a sequel, then any sequel (given how this one ends) would end up being a completely different film in both style and story and I feel this just would not work either. Regardless, I like weird films and films that are a bit different to the Hollywood norm and this did strike a cord with me. I found it an enjoyable watch even if it is a little weak in places with questionable acting at times.
The Sage’s Rating: 7/10