Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Director: Roman Polanski; Starring: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon
IMDb Plot summary: A young couple move into a new 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 controlling her life
This one never fails to give me the ever-loving heebie-jeebies. As in Repulsion, Polanski succeeds in merging paranoid and nightmarish visions into a world that is disturbingly similar to our own. But the scares aren’t overbearing; don’t come to this one expecting ghouls and gore. Instead, Polanski manipulates our suspicions throughout the film to fill us with a creeping sense of dread that lasts well after the final eerie scene.
Amidst this great sense of tension, I felt I could sympathise with the fragile yet persistent Rosemary, thanks to Mia Farrow’s performance. She conveys a child-like innocence, vulnerability and stubbornness without being grating. We come to really care about the poor young woman and even the child she is bearing, and this makes the plot’s twists and turns all the more frightening and memorable. Let’s not forget that Ruth Gordon is excellent as a simpering, nosy neighbour, while John Cassavetes, though not exactly an experienced actor himself, is suitably flaky as Rosemary’s thespian husband. This is a highly enjoyable, truly great horror film that definitely doesn’t suffer on repeat viewings! Warning: not recommended for pregnant women…