"The Curse of Sleeping Beauty" is an entirely new, dark vision of the classic Brothers Grimm adventure. Thomas Kaiser inherits an ancestral mansion that has been in his family for generations, only to learn that he has also inherited an ancient curse stemming back to the Crusades. Forced into his new role as "protector", the guardian appointed to keep the evil demons in the house at bay, Thomas must unravel the mystery of the house, while struggling to awaken the beautiful Briar Rose, held captive in a terrifying netherworld seen previously in his dreams.
Despite what the title suggests, The Curse of Sleeping Beauty isn't a "re-imagination" of the classic fairy-tale, but an adaptation of a "web comic" created by Everette Hartsoe (which I have never read), which was partially inspired by the tale Little Briar Rose, by the Grimm Brothers... also known as Sleeping Beauty. Mmh... after all, I think it is in fact a "re-imagination" of the fairy-tale. Anyway, there's a sleeping woman at the center of the movie, and a main character with the mission to awake her. But there's also a demon with a female voice, sinister apparitions inside the abandoned mansion and an inexplicable abundance of mannequins which occasionally display signs of life. Despite such a far-fetched premise, The Curse of Sleeping Beauty starts decently, with a well raised mystery, while director Pearry Reginald Teo (of whom I had only seen the ambitious but failed science fiction movie The Gene Generation) lets the narrative flow organically, at the same time he shows an interesting visual style. Unfortunately, the screenplay loses focus and consistency after half an hour, when it adds new variables, such as the hateful hacker/comic relief who must translate a document written on an unknown language; and an "expert" in paranormal affairs. I guess I understand what screenwriter Josh Nadler was trying to do with the latter character (a kind of a paranormal Doc Brown), but instead of bringing him personality, he only highlighted the foolishness behind the theories and conclusions of the specialist. It's a pity that The Curse of Sleeping Beauty ended up being an unsatisfactory film, because it showed some promise during the beginning. The problem is that the screenplay quickly crumbles, and that made me lose any interest. Having said that, I will keep expecting Teo's future films with interest; the movies I have seen from him haven't been good due to their poor screenplays, but he obviously has vision and narrative abilities which could be exploited with better written stories and more resources. For the rest, The Curse of Sleeping Beauty is another good reason to leave fairy- tales in peace, unless author Neil Gaiman is involved.
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