Rosemary’s Baby Desirous of starting a family, the young Catholic housewife Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford: an iconic New York’s building that brims with unpleasant stories of obscure dwellers and ghastly occurrences. Before long, the young couple is befriended by their somehow eccentric next-door neighbors Roman and Minnie Castevet and, shortly after, Rosemary gets pregnant. However, little by little–as the inexperienced mother becomes systematically cut off from her circle and friends–alarming hints of a sinister and well-planned conspiracy begin to emerge, enfolding the timid Rosemary in a shroud of suspicion and mental agony. In the end, why is everyone so conveniently eager to help; furthermore, why is Guy allowing it?
One of the ultimate horror classics
Every bit of acclaim that Rosemary’s Baby has earned is totally deserved. The Dakota, located at 72nd and Central Park West, is the perfect setting for the demonic events; all that rich Gothic detail in the heart of Manhattan provides the perfect atmosphere, serving as a dark fairy-tale world of its own within the modern setting. Roman Polanski knows this and utilizes it brilliantly, opening the film with stunning aerial shots of the skyline and focusing in on the ornate castle amongst the skyscrapers and tenements.
Rosemary’s Baby The acting is fantastic, particularly Mia Farrow, who is the only person I can envision as Rosemary. Her fine-boned fragility makes her the ideal target for terror. She goes from obliviousness to suspicion to fear to near madness without showing a seam, and we as the audience are with her all the way. And Mia is given a run for her money by the delightful Ruth Gordon, a comical yet sinister presence popping in on a deliberate schedule with pale green drinks and sandpapery advice. She’s scary because we know her–a batty old broad with a seemingly sweet nature beneath her caustic surface. That such a person could possibly be a vessel of evil is a thoroughly unnerving concept.
Unnerving is the proper adjective for the entire movie. Unnerving, eerie, and penetratingly frightening in a very subtle manner. The subtlety is key, since a more explicit treatment would’ve spoiled everything. As the tension heightens, we feel what Rosemary feels: Curiosity, then vague suspicion, then paralyzing terror at the final revelation. At all times, the movie retains its dignity, from the opening and closing shots of the building to the flourishing title script to the beautiful music. Even on TV, this picture can chill you to the bone. The best big-budget horror movie of all time. Rosemary’s Baby