A: Something or someone that foreshadows a future event,
B: One that initiates a major change: gives an anticipatory sign of what’s to come.
The Curse Of Rosalie from director Will Klipstine, who also stars in the lead role of Daniel Snyder, is an interesting and dense watch. The movie explores so many different elements of horror, crime, demons, tokens, ancient Native American curses and creepy small town neighbors along with a number of twists and turns that you don’t want to blink for a second.
The film starts in familiar territory with a seemingly ‘normal’ young couple moving to a new small town with their troubled young daughter, Rosalie (Madeleine McGraw). You see, Rosalie has endured a fairly recent change which leaves her now with a bit of a nasty chip on her shoulder – to put it mildly. She is very quiet, brooding and not at all friendly with her new neighbors, not to mention her hospitality (hostility?) toward the children in her new town. Yeah, this girl has something dark going on and we want to get to the bottom of it.
As the story progresses, we learn that Daniel and his wife Theresa (Amanda MacDonald) are dealing with something pretty dark in Rosalie. They have been trying to cure her ails and get their wonderful little girl back, as we see in so many flashbacks to happier times. Visits to a child psychologist early on only builds resistance to treatment so the Snyders go for more of a D.I.Y. approach.
Immediately upon pulling into the driveway of their new home, an almost comically stereotypical ‘nosy neighbor’ Betty Goss (Diana Wilde) comes screeching in to greet the family. Lively to the point of invading everyone’s space, Betty zips in and out of scenes with a splash. Next we see a series of new neighbors making their introductions in one way or another. John Driscoll (Steve Monroe) is the ‘good buddy’ type that is funny, laid back and would be as happy to hang out and have beers as anything else. Next door neighbors Mrs. Lester (Lynnette Marie) and her grown son Harlan (James Bozian) kick things off by inviting the Snyders for dinner with the group just mentioned here. This is where we start to see something is more than a little off with this place – and the people here.
The first half or so of the movie leads us in what the viewer may think is a predictable direction. Daniel has an almost permanent look of distress on his face which is obviously coming from something deeper than his new insurance sales job. He and his wife, Theresa are a boiling pot of tension in nearly every scene while little Rosalie (giving off a bit of a Wednesday Addams vibe, but even more sinister) meanders around saying scary things and doing even scarier things. So, another possessed kid movie, right? Hold on, not so fast.
Remember, this is a fairly layered, story rich movie and the second half starts delivering twists and turns to make the viewer think they’ve thrown in everything but the kitchen sink.
Here we learn that Daniel has had some shady business dealings back in their old life in the big city. A savvy businessman, but caught up in a financial scheme has left him at the brink of desperation. At nearly the last minute, another businessman, Luc (Charles Hubbell) just so happens to come along with a solution, with a catch, to bail ol’ Daniel out of his mess. In his desperation, Daniel accepts the offer which then sets everything in motion.
While the family struggles to settle in, very awkwardly, to their new town, keep play dates and find a routine, things begin to take dark turns. Mysterious deaths, cryptic tokens found at the crime scenes and a Creepy Man (Bruce Bohne) start to appear. Fingers start to point to the new family who have not been doing a very good job at hiding some secrets. Finally they visit a Native American witch, Floating Hawk (Irene Bedard) hoping to find guidance. This sets off a good bit of back and forth as Floating Hawk seems confident in unraveling the mysterious evil that plagues the family.
The last third of the movie is where we want to buckle up and pay full attention. Things are about to get really, twisted. I mean like a rollercoaster going 200 MPH doing loops and barrel rolls twisted. Without giving too much detail or spoilers away, let’s just say that the surprises start landing punches to the story that you thought you had figured out, knocking things in wildly different directions. The fun part in watching this sort of puzzle come together is that so many aforementioned elements start resolving very well while adding in new things like flashbacks, reincarnation, cursed grounds under a crypt and the age old good vs. evil battle. The characters who we thought we had come to know may not necessarily be the people we assumed them to be as well as their place in the grand scheme of eternity.
Still with me? Good, but I’ll leave the rest to you, dear viewer, to enjoy watching. Remember, don’t blink!
Technically, I did enjoy the cinematography and filmmaking elements. The pacing of the scenes was good and kept the ball rolling nicely. A very good score and sound design always helps the creepy and ambient factors of horror films and it works well here. While there were no particularly groundbreaking camera tricks or other special effects, what is presented fits well with the appropriate scenes and keeps things interesting.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Curse Of Rosalie as much as for what it was and what it was not. I admit, the writer’s sleight of hand made me chuckle at myself more than once – as a writer myself, I love to see things take me by surprise like this. This is a fun film and once you think that you are locked onto the story, that is where the fun begins.
Terry is founder of Black Dog Filmz based in Florida and creator of the award winning ‘Harlow’s Haunt’ movie. He has been involved with creative filmmaking, movies, music videos and commercial projects for more than 20 years as a tech, drone and specialized small camera systems professional. A lifelong horror fan, Terry combines the behind-the-camera elements with creative and editorial writing to support filmmakers and fans everywhere. Terry has written for such national publications as Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Drone News and hosted the popular Romero Pictures Indie Brigade Drone Cav podcast centered on aerial cinematography and various product and content reviews.