A young couple move into an apartment, only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.
There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these flesh eating monsters.
Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse move into an apartment in an opulent but gothic building in Manhattan. Their landlord Edward "Hutch" Hutchins attempts to dissuade them from doing so: the building has an unsavory history. They discover that their neighbors are a very friendly elderly couple named Roman and Minnie Castevet, and Guy begins to spend a great deal of time with them. Strange things begin to happen: a young woman Rosemary meets in the laundry commits suicide, Rosemary has strange dreams and hears strange noises and Guy becomes remote and distant. Then Rosemary falls pregnant and begins to suspect that her neighbors have special plans for her child. Written by
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.
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.
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