A young man (Aaron Poole, Small Town Murder Songs) inherits his late mother’s estate. As soon as he arrives at the house, he is unable to ignore the place’s ominous atmosphere. He even begins seeing strange things. Is he having hallucinations, or is there something supernatural roaming through the old house?
Reaction & Thoughts:
Rodrigo Gudiño’s first feature-length film offers plenty of atmosphere, but not much else. The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh feels like an extended episode of TV’s Night Gallery or TV’s The Twilight Zone stretched out into a feature — a shorter format would have served the material better.
I did appreciate the fact that a modern filmmaker had the guts to create a slow-moving horror film at the height of the attention-deficit era. I also liked how the film is embedded in weird quasi-religious iconography.
Sadly, good atmosphere and quirky touches are not enough here. Gudiño makes good use of a single set, but he gets a bit anxious near the end and begins showing stuff that should have been left to the imagination. The sub-par CGI work doesn’t help matters. Gudiño’s initial approach was right on the money — less is sometimes more.
Aaron Poole’s performance is good, but not great. A better actor could have made a bigger impression. Strangely enough, Vanessa Redgrave (Julia) provides the voice for the title character, but another actor was casted for the on-screen work. I have no explanation for what is really a weird approach (maybe Redgrave was too expensive to do both roles). Anyhow, I did enjoy her excellent narration.
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
As I indicated before, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh isn’t perfect, but it sure is spooky. It left me wanting more, though. The cast also includes Julian Richings (Mimic) as Rahn Brothers, Charlotte Sullivan (The Cry of the Owl) as Anna, and Stephen Eric McIntyre as Preacher. Color, 82 minutes, Rated R.