There’s two ways you can react to a new version of “Rosemary’s Baby.” The first one is to completely write it off and make the assumption that no one could do a better job of adapting Ira Levin’s bestseller than Roma Polanski did in 1968. The other reaction is to take it as a new vision of the book that isn’t trying to be a remake of the first movie and enjoy or hate it for what it is according to its own merits.
I think the one thing we can all agree on is that if the Satanic Panic-type films of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s are going to be introduced to a whole new generation of viewers, there’s no better place to start than with “Rosemary’s Baby.” After all, it really is where the trend began for mainstream moviegoers.
Young Rosemary Woodhouse (Zoe Saldana) and her husband (Patrick J. Adams) move to Paris after he is offered a job there. After a residential fire, the couple are invited to live in a luxurious apartment by landlord’s Roman (Jason Isaacs) and Margaux Castevet (Carole Bouquet). Rosemary becomes pregnant and her eccentric neighbors shower her with kindness and devotion. She begins to suspect they’re only after one thing following an investigation into the building’s mysterious ties to the occult. Rosemary believes the supportive bunch are a coven of witches looking to sacrifice her baby to stay young.
There’s no doubt in my mind that everyone involved in the new version of “Rosemary’s Baby” was dedicated to the project. Zoe Saldana completely embraces her role as the damaged-yet-hopeful Rosemary, who desperately wants to do the right thing for her unborn child. Jason Isaacs and Carole Bouquet are deliciously wicked playing the reserved but extremely persuasive Castevets.
“Rosemary’s Baby” is not rated. However, I would give it a PG-13 rating for adult situations, sensuality, and disturbing images. There’s a bit of gore and some sex scenes without nudity.
There’s no heavy religious message to be found within “Rosemary’s Baby.” If it teaches you anything, it’s that you need to be careful what you’re willing to sacrifice for material success and temporary happiness. Although it deals with Satan and his powers, it’s not evangelical in any form and doesn’t preach at the viewer in regards to their spiritual life.
The DVD version of “Rosemary’s Baby” contains some limited bonus material. Two featurettes explore behind the scenes of the movie in “Fear is Born: The Making of ‘Rosemary’s Baby'” and “Grand Guignol: Parisian Production Design.” The cast and crew are interviewed about their roles in the film and expand on filming in the most romantic city on Earth.
People who have never seen Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby” and haven’t read anything about it will no doubt enjoy this updated version more than those already exposed to the classic tale. I found it to be entertaining and thrilling at times. Was it as good as Polanski’s 1968 version? I wouldn’t say so. Did it seem to dig a little deeper and expand on the concept more than the original? Yes, considering it was a two-part movie and had around 34 minutes more to flesh things out.
“Rosemary’s Baby” is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.