The Curse of Sleeping Beauty (2016)
Directed by: Pearry Reginald Teo
Written by: Everette Hartsoe, Jacob Grimm, Josh Nadler, Pearry Reginald Teo, Wilhelm Grimm
Starring: Bruce Davison, Ethan Peck, India Eisley, Natalie Hall
THE CURSE OF SLEEPING BEAUTY (2016)
Directed by Pearry Reginald Teo
Having repeated dreams of a sleeping beauty surrounded by Egytian god statues in the middle of a desert and horrific waking nightmares caused by sleep paralysis, artist Thomas Kaiser wants answers. Those answers arrive when he is left a grand house called Kaiser Gardens, belonging to his Uncle Clive, a relative he never knew existed. Upon arriving at his inherited home, his dreams of the sleeping beauty change. The stunning young woman awakens to his kiss for the first time and tells him that she is close by in the real world and that he must free her. With reports of missing people in the area, thought to have been last seen at Kaiser Gardens, and with creepy mannequins seemingly coming alive within the home, Thomas, with the help of real estate valuer Linda and supernatural investigator Richard, decide to uncover the secrets hidden within the house once and for all.
Inspired by the fairytale of the princess who’s awoken from her eternal slumber by a prince, THE CURSE OF SLEEPING BEAUTY opts to approach the Brothers Grimm story from a sinister angle. Basing it in modern times, Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) is the woman of Thomas Kaiser’s dreams but the demons preventing him from kissing her and haunting his waking moments are enough to panic the young artist. These dreams become gradually more intense until he finally discovers that there’s a link between the young woman and his bloodline. Having received a warning from his uncle not to go digging around in the secret rooms beyond the basement, Thomas is a tad reluctant but with the idea that Briar Rose may be trapped somewhere in those locked rooms along with other mysteries of the home and his ancestral roots, he decides to push ahead regardless of the consequences.
A slow burn horror, THE CURSE OF SLEEPING BEAUTY has some terrifying moments set in the unkept manor of Kaiser Gardens. With the house littered with mannequins, Kaiser Gardens is far from a warm, comfortable home to live in. With bumps and noises at every turn, the manor plays host to the living nightmare which Thomas finds himself in as the mannequins in the home seemingly come alive. Scenes of the mannequins stalking Thomas and his guests are quite frightening to watch and remind me of the bubble head nurses from Silent Hill, especially with the way they move. The film also has some great make-up and costume effects in the shape of the demon that emerges from under the covers during one of Thomas’ sleep paralysis attacks.
THE CURSE OF SLEEPING BEAUTY builds up quite nicely despite some cheesy scenes between Thomas and potential love interest Linda, but the final third of the film sees the film begin to unravel with an ending that serves more like the beginning of a new chapter. Pulling in a brand new storyline opens up more questions and as we watch expecting to find out what happens next, the credits roll. Talk about a cop out. The entire movie builds up to this moment and then doesn’t even decide to explain itself or give the storyline any proper coverage, deciding to let the viewer imagine what comes next. It’s not the first time a director has ended a film sharply but this one is mightily infuriating because the ending we receive is by no means a clear cut ending and should have had at least another 20 minutes running time to explore this final plot thread. But no, instead we’re left with half a story, a prelude or sorts that I imagine will never see a sequel nor would I spend time watching one should a sequel come to fruition. What a shame as the opening half of the movie showed promise only for the final third to let the viewers down big time.