Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby ★★★★

One of the most glaring omissions in my horror viewing history, Rosemary's Baby has long been a film that made me embarrassed to call myself a horror fan. It deserves its iconic status, the simplistic B-movie plot of satanic fantasy turned by the calibre of Polanski's direction to something a great deal more complex. Deserving mention above all else is Farrow's performance, an incredible display of maternal fears balled up in the sweetest innocence you could hope to encounter. I've always loved her in Allen's films, but here she is with an uncanny intensity that draws you—hypnotised, just as fearful as she—right into this world of paranoia. Polanski's camera often lurks in the shadows, particularly in the opening scenes picking out the frightful darkness in every corner, playing up the contrast between the good and the bad. It's a film with much to say about religion, though this thematic ambition is also its greatest failing. For all Polanski manages to say, for all his fantastic direction does with this elementary plot, Rosemary's Baby is not a film of unfathomable depth, its commentary restricted, its scope not overwhelmingly broad. What it is is a hugely effective horror, a well-oiled machine that knows precisely how to hold an audience right in the palm of its hand.