After a devastating fire, Charlotte and John rent a countryside house and attempt to start life over, though Charlotte, upon seeing visions of her deceased daughter, retreats to the house's attic and pulls away from her husband and sister.
The Yellow Wallpaper (Motion Picture) is an "Origins Myth"... rather than a direct adaptation of the famous Charlotte Perkins Gilman story. Drawing from the original short story and a number of Gilmans' other gothic works (The Giant Wisteria, The Unwatched Door, etc.), The Yellow Wallpaper is an original narrative of events that unfold around the actual writing of "The Yellow Wallpaper" short story. After a devastating fire, Charlotte and John rent a countryside house and attempt to start life over, though Charlotte, upon seeing visions of her deceased daughter, retreats to the house's attic and pulls away from her husband and sister. Written by
All the original antiques and furnishings in the house were collected for one year before principal photography -- to ensure that nothing in the film was a 'prop' that appeared in a movie before. See more »
This is a film which honors patience. It is not for those who need action-packed adrenaline stoking from beginning to end. This is a film for those who appreciate the slow build up to terror of a classic Gothic ghost story.
The characters speak slowly in careful Victorian, but Midwestern American, English as the year is 1892. The camera reveals scenes with a languid, sensuality. Yet, there is a discomforting eerie quality that builds as the film progresses. Most of the scenes are outside or within a 100-year old haunted house. A few sequences are of a bleak landscape separating the house from town. The sound track has a threatening undertone. John encounters a rat-killing couple on a bicycle ride into town. The encounter is the first of increasingly bizarre experiences that John, his wife, and sister-in-law, Jennifer have, after renting the house with yellow wallpaper. Suspense builds, like waves, each reaching a bit higher, and the viewer's tension notches up.
The film is wonderfully atmospheric and full of symbolic allusion (e.g., town represents safety, where there is civilization, but it is cut off by desert, forest, and distant mountains, thus unattainable for those caught in the web of terror). The stark Victorian mansion, at first, seems to offer a comforting respite for the grief-stricken family. John and Charlotte have lost their daughter in a fire that consumed their previous house. True to its Gothic literary antecedent, however, the house's hidden terrors slowly enrapture and capture its occupants. The descent into terror and madness is a slow but steady incline, not a dash from a spring board.
John, a medical doctor, demands that the family maintain its rational, civilized understanding of reality and thus seek understanding of the inexplicable events that begin to occur after moving into the house. Charlotte embraces the irrational-supernatural aura of the house as a means to reconnect with their deceased daughter. Jennifer, the pragmatist, brings in a "ghost-buster" from back east. So, what force will prevail and will the 3 survive as they approach the final horror the house dishes up? The production is first class in all respects. The sets appear historically accurate to the Victorian era. The soundtrack music is wonderfully eerie and then shrieks like Psycho when the viewer's nerves are about to snap with tension. The acting is superb by all 3 of the main characters, and the walk-ons are appropriately creepy. The writing and direction bring to life for 21st Century viewers a classic Gothic tale of terror.
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