Sunday, October 27, 2013

Horror Challenge #75: "The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh"

Isn't the house in this movie creepy looking?  This is something I mention because this movie has people divided pretty equally into two categories: "WTF that was boring" and "Wow that was deep and moving."  And even oin the group that thinks the movie is deep and moving, there is a lot of in-fighting about what the movie means.  It's one of those movies that is very open to interpretation, so people can easily think their pet theory about what the movie meant is the right one and fight for hours to defend that point of view.  I hear tell that the director on the commentary for the movie insisted that it meant one thing, but since it can so clearly be taken a few different ways with evidence from the movie to back them up, I'm going to go ahead and say that I don't really care what he thinks is the "true" interpretation.

I like that it's open to more than one interpretation.  That makes it worth talking about.  It reminds me a lot of two other horror movies I've watched in past challenges, "The Possession of David O'Rielly" and "The Skeptic," because those had endings that were open to interpretation as well, and that made watching them more interesting for me.  But anyway, the house is scary and foreboding to me, which makes the movie scary and foreboding, but if you don't think the house is scary, you might not like the movie, because a lot of the scares rely on your feelings of isolation and devastation in relation to the creepy, oppressive house, which doesn't work if you don't find it creepy or oppressive.

This movie is about a woman who has died, and her son was estranged, and he returns to her home after her death to settle her affairs, only to discover that there's a presence in the house with him.  Already I feel like I'm lying to you, because this is one of those movies where some of what I said MIGHT NOT be true if you favor one interpretation of the movie over another.  The thing is, whatever your interpretation, the movie leaves a lot of the heavy lifting to actor Aaron Poole, because he's really the only character we see, and so if we don't care about him and don't get emotionally involved with his journey, we're going to find the movie boring.  Most of the movie is literally footage of him wandering around the house looking spooked and kind of pensive.

It worked for me, because I cared about what he was going through, but I can definitely see where some people would find it boring.  He can't really decide what to feel about his mother's death, because they weren't close and she was emotionally and verbally abusive to him, and this left him pretty scarred.  I can identify with that, too.  Ultimately, this emotional roller coaster is where all the scares of the movie rest, and if you don't feel connected to him, you probably won't like the movie.  I kept going back and forth, but I think I ended up liking the movie and feeling compelled by what happened.  It's not a thrill-a-minute type movie, but it's got its own brand of emotional devastation, which is scary in its own way. 

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