The Curse Of Sleeping Beauty was a pleasant surprise. Yes, Pearry Reginald Teo’s film is incredibly silly, but it’s wonderfully made and visually inventive. It plays with the Brothers Grimm Fairy tale, creating a Guillermo del Toro type world. This version of Sleeping Beauty has a very ‘90s feel to it, but the thing is so well realised that it’s worth checking out.
Ethan Peck (grandson of the great Gregory Peck) is haunted by bad dreams of India Osley’s Sleeping Beauty, he inherits an old house from an uncle he never knew and soon releases, in the words of Gene Wilder’s Frederick Frankenstein: ‘Destiny, Destiny – no escaping that for me! Destiny, Destiny – no escaping that for me!’ Along the way he hooks up with Natalie Hall’s curious real estate agent and Bruce Davison’s kooky paranormal investigator.
The acting here is fine, the visuals are great, with Teo and cinematographer Christopher C. Pearson’s creating an beautifully immersive world. I’ve mentioned the Guillermo del Toro vibe, but it also has hints of Tarsem Singh’s visual panache. i may have been critical of Tao’s atrocious Dracula: The Dark Prince (read the Movies In Focus review), but this show a huge improvement on that cut-rate Van Helsing flick.
The Curse Of Sleeping Beauty comes has a luscious score from Scott Glasgow (who also composed Movies In Focus favourite Bone Dry). Glasgow’s score is luscious, a proper piece of melodic film music which is something that you rarely get these days. Glasgow continues to deliver strong work and he has a knack for creating elegant scores.
The plotting in The Curse Of Sleeping Beauty might be all over the place, but that can be forgiven by the sense commitment on a creative level. As a horror, it might not be all that scary, but there is plenty of tension to keep you hooked. This is the type of film that would have had a chance to shine in a video store 15 or 20 years ago and it’s worth seeking out in order discover an inventive horror-fantasy.