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After viewing Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, it is not difficult to understand how many describe this film as “one of the finest horror films ever made.” Adapted from Ira Levin’s satanic novel of the same name, this film combines bone chilling tension with unimaginable horror.
Following moving into their new apartment building, Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and her husband, Guy (John Cassavetes), experience a number of strange encounters with their rather curious neighbors. Once Rosemary mysteriously becomes pregnant, she slowly grows paranoid of everyone and everything surrounding her. She is conflicted between the reality she wants to believe and what she thinks is actually occurring; however, she appears to blend the two intermittently throughout.
This tale is nothing short of amazing; however, the true brilliance of the film is derived from the masterful performances made visible by Polanski’s direction. The characters in this film appear so dynamic that the audience will often forget that they are watching a film as they drift deeper into this horrific tale.
Even from the beginning, this film is able to build tension even from the slightest mundane moments. As the characters go forth through the daily grind, the audience is reminded again and again of the ominous sinister tone of the film. As the film progresses, this tone becomes increasingly apparent as it continually hints at the film’s seeming conclusion. Once the audience realizes what is occurring, they are helpless to change the course of the inevitably.
The only complaint that could be said of the film is that it is a bit slow in the beginning because the audience has yet to gain a strong idea of what is going on. Once the momentum begins to build, however, this film does not look back.
Through its tense and disturbing nature, the film is able to retain a bit of a sense of humor about it. This humor is both dark and sparse throughout the film. It functions to alleviate some of the tension, so the audience doesn’t feel as though the film is bearing upon them too greatly.
Rosemary's Baby is absolutely superb and, alone, should define Polanski as one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema.