Dash Reviews…The Curse of Sleeping Beauty

Hey, everyone! It’s the Dash Man with some more spooky goodness for you. Well, this time, I can safely say that I haven’t been feeling myself for the past couple of days. Don’t worry, guys. It’s nothing major, I just feel that…I don’t know. Have any of you ever feel like you’ve been cheated? I sure do, and it’s all for you guys. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy what I do. Even if it kills me.

I can tell you this much…there’s no coffee in the world strong enough to wake this movie up.

‘The Curse of Sleeping Beauty’ is a 2016 horror-fantasy written and directed by Pearry Reginald Teo. Based on both Pearry Teo’s graphic novel of the same name, as well as the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, the film follows a man named Thomas Kaiser who inherits an old house from his recently deceased uncle. Once Thomas steps foot onto the abandoned property, he soon realizes that his entire bloodline has been cursed for centuries, now he attempts to discover the connection between the demonic curse and his reoccurring dreams of a mysterious sleeping girl. The film met with negative reviews upon its limited release, so what exactly went wrong? Is there something that we’re all missing in this dark and modern retelling of the classic tale, or is this yet another horror travesty that should be put back to sleep?

Now, I’ll even admit. I haven’t read every comic book or graphic novel in the world. So don’t hold it against me if I’ve never heard of the graphic novel that this movie is supposedly based on. Since both the comic and the movie are created by the same guy, I’m sure this movie may have stayed true to the source material. If that’s the case, then I feel that the writing for this story is absolutely atrocious. I hate to be so harsh because the very idea of this movie had so much potential. Not to mention, I love when horror movies incorporate fantasy and fairytale elements into the mix. While this movie had a very interesting concept, it just couldn’t live up to the expectations. If that wasn’t enough, every trick you see in this movie has already been done and done better before in other horror movies. The main character inherits a haunted mansion? Check. Freaky reoccurring nightmares? Check. A secret book that has to be translated? Check. A Paranormal Investigator? Check. Creepy mannequins? Check. The main character is an unemotional bore? Of friggin’ course he is!

With a movie like this, I’m not expecting any Academy Award-nominated performances or anything. But, there’s nothing wrong with an actor showing some effort. Unfortunately, I feel as though we got the exact opposite from Ethan Peck’s performance as Thomas. I get what he was trying to be, a tortured loner. But there’s usually still some resemblances of a personality. Most of us have real-life issues, but that doesn’t mean we have to act like robots. This is by far the most wooden performance that I’ve seen in a long time. I didn’t care when he woke up from his nightmares, I didn’t care when he got cursed, I didn’t care when he’s hunted by monsters, and I didn’t care about what happened to him at the end of the movie; which I will get to later.

Thank you, River. Now, as far as the rest of the acting…it was okay. Richard(played by Bruce Davidson) appears late in the movie but is actually quite decent. For a Paranormal Investigator, he’s probably the most human of the whole cast. Davidson has a very laid-back personality, that I was actually relieved to finally have a character that I could get behind. Then there’s Linda(played by Natalie Hall), who is thankfully nowhere as stiff and unemotional as Ethan Peck’s character. I don’t have a problem with this woman’s acting, it’s just the writing of the character that I have a problem with. The character of Linda is a realtor who just so happens to have a brother who went missing in the house. If it wasn’t for this character’s brother, this character would have no purpose. If Linda was just a regular woman who comes to look for her brother, then I could believe that. Did you really have to also make her a realtor too? Relax people, I’m in no way insinuating that a woman can’t work a certain job, I’m saying that this script has way too many coincidences. The filmmakers really expect us to believe that Linda is a realtor who moves away to basically do the same job in another town just on the off chance of meeting a new owner of the house that her brother was killed in AND just so happens to have dated a guy who could translate the family journal they found? Really?!?

Finally, there’s the Sleeping Beauty herself, Briar Rose(played by India Eisley). This is another character who isn’t shown much in the movie. However, much like how she appears in Thomas’ dreams, there’s enough potential to make you want to know more about her. I will give props to whoever was in charge of costume design. They took India Eisley, who’s already incredibly beautiful, and actually made her look like a fairytale princess come alive, which adds to the fantasy angle that the film was going for. For those of you who may not be aware, India Eisley is actually the daughter of legendary actress Olivia Hussey(‘Romeo & Juliet’, ‘Black Christmas’, and ‘Psycho IV: The Beginning’). It’s good to know that India is already slowly making a name for herself with ‘Underworld: Awakening’, ‘My Sweet Audrina’, and her role as Ashley Juergens in ABC Family’s ‘The Secret Life of an American Teenager’, but ‘The Curse of Sleeping Beauty’ is easily not her best performance. Maybe you can chalk it up to the fact that she didn’t have much to work with since she’s not in the movie that often, despite the fact that her character is the point of the whole movie. Again, I have to blame the writing on this one. I could tell that Eisley was trying and it wasn’t entirely her fault for why this film ended up the way it did. She definitely looked the part, but there just wasn’t enough substance.

Speaking of Briar Rose, I think that it’s finally time to talk about the film’s ending. If some of you REALLY want to watch this movie for some reason, or if you just lost a bet, then turn back now if you don’t want me to spoil the ending.

You’re welcome, River. Speaking of which, those discount ‘Doctor Who’ monsters were technically the good guys all along, and Briar Rose is the real ancient demon who’s been put under the sleeping spell in order to prevent the Apocolypse. But, because Thomas is a friggin’ idiot, he wakes her up with a kiss and uses the evil in Thomas’ bloodline to end the world.

Seriously? Forget the fact that this so-called twist ending makes M. Night Shyamalan look like Alfred Hitchcock, but you could see this twist coming a mile away. Congratulations, not only did you make a bait-and-switch that insulted our intelligence, but we saw it coming and done nothing about it. At first, I thought I would feel pretty bad for spoiling the ending of this movie. But after finally watching it, I’m at the point where I just don’t give a damn. I could only imagine who truly came up with the ideas for this crap.

I’m sorry if it seems like I’m being a little too harsh on this one, guys. I just had high hopes for this movie, and it had so much potential. That’s the keyword for this review, “potential”. ‘The Curse of Sleeping Beauty’ has an overall good look that blends contemporary horror with classical fantasy, the music by Scott Glasgow fits the tone of the movie perfectly, India Eisley certainly tries to make her character work, and the costume designs look great as well. While it may look like a great movie, there are way too many problems that keep it from holding up to its aesthetic presentation. The film follows the same-old horror tricks way too often, the monsters are uninspired, the writing is god-awful, the main lead is an emotionless bore, but most importantly, the film suffers greatly for ending with one of the most obvious and laziest twist endings ever. I’m sorry, but when you fail to put effort into your horror movie AND fail to let the audience feel any sort of sympathy, empathy, or any kind of emotional connection with your characters, there’s only one thing that viewers are going to feel and it’s definitely not fear…it’s sleepiness.

…Nope, still not scary. Let’s just hope that next time, we’ll check out something that’s a little livelier. Until then, Gotta Dash!

Rating: 3.5/10

Written by Shane Moose

Special thanks to the three big F’s in my life(Friends, Family & Fans) for helping me get this far, pushing me to go even further and for putting up with me when I try going further than that. To hell with my limitations!

Videos & Photos:

The Curse of Sleeping Beauty(owned by XLrator Media, 2B Films, Briar Rose Productions & Nexus Motion Picture Company)

Drawn Together(owned by Comedy Central, Double Hemm & Rough Draft Studios)

Doctor Who(owned by BBC)

Liar Liar(owned by Universal Pictures & Imagine Entertainment)

Mean Girls(owned by Paramount Pictures, M.G. Films & Broadway Video)

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