The Curse of Sleeping Beauty: A vaguely diverting waste of time

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The Curse of Sleeping Beauty directed by Pearry TeoThe Curse of Sleeping Beauty directed by Pearry Teo

The Curse of Sleeping Beauty directed by Pearry TeoIs this a good movie? No. Is it a fairly entertaining way of filling in a rainy afternoon? Sure.

There are actually a lot of things about The Curse of Sleeping Beauty I enjoyed: it has a unique visual style that’s a sort of fantasy/steampunk mash-up, and a story that’s half-horror, half-fairy tale (with a dash of ghost story thrown in for good measure). The acting ain’t bad, and though the twist is pretty obvious, I felt satisfied at having correctly guessed what it would be.

And look at that cover art on the DVD! Gorgeous.

Thomas is your standard beefcake artist haunted by strange dreams of a creepy house and a beautiful slumbering girl. Diagnosed with sleep paralysis, he’s isolated and anti-social, with little understanding of what his dreams could mean.

Then he finds out he’s the beneficiary of an estate previously owned by his hitherto unknown Uncle Clive — a man he’s never heard of, and whose death was ruled a suicide. He arrives at the estate to discover (you guessed it!) that the house is the same one he’s seen in his dreams.

Joined by a real estate agent whose brother went missing on the property, Thomas begins to investigate Kaiser Gardens, hearing rumours that it’s the site of a family curse, but certain that by awakening the sleeping beauty in his dreams he can get some answers.

The Curse of Sleeping Beauty mines its inspiration from a number of sources, including the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who and the Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth. If nothing else, it manages a unique gothic-steampunk aesthetic that’s fun to watch. (Hey if you’re going to steal, steal from the best.)

Storywise its greatest problem is that ending: namely that there isn’t one. Perhaps they were counting on a sequel, perhaps they simply ran out of time and/or money, but viewers will be left reeling at one of the least satisfying cliff-hangers I’ve ever seen.

The Curse of Sleeping Beauty is a decent time-waster for a lazy night in, but is in an awkward position of not being bad enough to be good, but not good enough to be truly entertaining.

2016. Inheriting an ancestral mansion with an ancestral curse, Thomas who is the guardian appoointed to keep away evil spirits teams up with a realtor and paranormal cleric to unravel the mystery of the house and awaken Briar Rose

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REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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One comment

  1. I went and looked this up on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics’ average rating (out of 100 possible) 15, audience 35. My favorite quote from a review comes from the Mary Sue: “The Curse of Sleeping Beauty is a snoozefest.”

    Several reviewers do mention that it is beautiful and striking.

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