A real-time review, Part-Two...
It's a strange thing when you have a classic horror novel, adapted into two separate films: one of these films is an entirely faithful adaption, while the other is more loose with its script, using the more prominent elements as jumping off points. So what is a viewer to think when the faithful adaption is kind of a mess, while the movie that only embraced some of the novel's story is a masterpiece? This happened recently with Kimberly Pierce's adaptation/remake of Stephen King's Carrie. Was it atrocious? Not really. But was it better than Brian De Palma's original film version of Carrie? Not by a long shot.
And now we have at last finished NBC's miniseries adaption of Ira Levin's novel, Rosemary's Baby, about a woman who's uterus was co-opted by Satan and some witches, which was also a film directed by Roman Polanski in 1968 (duh). In this case, Polanski's film was a direct adaption of the book, while NBC took bits and pieces of Levin's novel, moved it to Paris, changed major character traits, made it modern, and stretched it out to four. Long. Hours. So what is the result of this mini-series adaption of Rosemary?
Hey NBC! I want my four hours back.
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, about this miniseries made sense. Let's start with the fact that it's set in 2014. While I can almost believe that a 1968 Rosemary would not realize her horrific pregnancy symptoms were out of the ordinary, this is two thousand frigging fourteen: the age of this magical thing called the INTERNET! A woman would have to be dumb as a box of rocks to not realize constant cold sweats, excruciating pain, weight loss, and a taste for raw organs is not normal. And Zoe Saldana's Rosemary is an educated ballerina. i.e. NOT a box of rocks. There is no justification for her making it so far into her pregnancy without completely freaking out, telling her husband and her new witchy friends to piss off, and getting on a plane back to America.
Second, moving the story to Paris, making the Castevets young-ish in appearance, and changing Guy Woodhouse's profession to "writer/professor" was unnecessary fluff. To begin with, I 100% believe that an actor would sell his wife's uterus to satan for a non-speaking role in an off-off-Broadway production of RENT. I do NOT believe that a professor at the Sorbonne would do the same thing. Nor do I believe that, just through the influence of some witches, could a crappy writer suddenly become a best-selling novelist. Once again, the logic train just totally bypassed this version of [Rosemary's Baby](series:1065846).
Further, stretching the story out to four effing hours just makes it that much more frustrating. It makes Guy look like that much more of a horrible husband. It makes Rosemary look like that much more of a sap. Every element that made Polanski's movie and Levin's book so eerie and unsettling is milked to hell (pun semi-intended) and ruins a wonderfully good thing. Simply put, as is the case of most horror stories, less is most certainly more.
Is the acting horrible? No. But to begin with, Zoe Saldana deserves so, SO much better than this. She deserves a Rosemary's Baby that is at least updated into a modern era where Rosemary is proactive and clever. She deserves a Rosemary that isn't too stupid to IMMEDIATELY Google search, "Satan - am I pregnant with his spawn?" And Patrick J. Adams (of USA's Suits) deserves a Guy Woodhouse that wouldn't rent his wife's womb out to Beelzebub for a hit book when any asshat with WiFi and a rhyming dictionary can self-publish on Amazon.
So what does the 2014 Rosemary's Baby bring to the table that the 1968 version didn't? Gore. A surprisingly large amount of gore given this is a network miniseries (though less surprising since it's the network that brought horror fans Hannibal... thanks for that at least). And you know what? It actually adds nothing. It's unnecessary, uninteresting, and takes what was once spooky and makes it an everyday R-rated slasher. When I watch Polanski's film, it's because I want understated, expertly paced, slow-burn tension. If I want gore, I'll watch a Jason movie.
I went into NBC's Rosemary's Baby with basement-level expectations, and it met those expectations in spades. This unnecessary mini-series was proof that even a talented cast can't save a half-hearted adaption turned into a crap script. But I suppose there is one thing for which we can all be grateful...
At least it wasn't Son of Rosemary.
Don't get any effing ideas, NBC.
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