After the Woodhouses move into a new apartment complex, they begin to notice strange occurrences within the premises. Rosemary, a housewife, spends her days sprucing up the home and mingling with neighbors while her husband attempts to capture a starring gig as an actor. Soon after, Rosemary becomes pregnant and fears that something sinister has occurred.
When rewatching a classic, especially ones from the 1960’s you go in expecting a more tame thriller than straight horror. While that is the case for the majority of “Rosemary’s Baby”, there are some very provocative and graphic elements that rival that of today’s standards. One scene in particular crescendos from chilling to downright repulsive. Even today it can be hard to watch for certain viewers, but if the film was made today I can only imagine it be pushed past the limits of what audiences are comfortable with. By no means does this scene taint the film, as it is a horror film depicting heinous activities, but viewers who are sensitive to graphic sexual content should be warned.
Symbolism is very apparent within the film. The more you dwell on it, the more haunting it can be. The Victorian style of the apartment is elegant but has a sense of evil through its traditional architecture. The repainting of the walls acts as a mask for the sinister facade of the environment Rosemary has found herself in; for example, neighbors continue to have darker more natural colors, which could signify the Woodhouses bringing light into a place that houses darkness.
“Rosemary’s Baby” is also a look into the dynamic of 60’s relationships. Guy Woodhouse, Rosemary’s husband, has a tendency to be slightly self-centered and sprinkles belittlement towards his wife. This is hidden at the start of the film, but as the runtime continues you begin to see the relationship tested; a great depiction of the overused trope that all relationships are perfect. The standout is Mia Farrow as Rosemary. She seemingly begins as your typical housewife but transforms into a woman of self-reliance. She begins to pick up on oddities and self-aware of what she believes to be impending doom, feeding into the great performance of caution and paranoia.
Those expecting a nonstop thrillfest will be quite displeased as “Rosemary’s Baby” is a slow burn. Running just over 2 hours, the lack of action creates a mind game with oneself as you try and predict what is happening since we have more knowledge than Rosemary herself does.
It’s understandable why “Rosemary’s Baby” is revered so highly. It’s demonic theme and visceral sexual content would catch any audience off guard back when it was released; especially those who are more religious. I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect film, but definitely, one that deserves respect within the horror spectrum. If you haven’t seen it and refer yourself as a fan of horror check it out.