Saturday, October 29, 2016

THE CURSE OF SLEEPING BEAUTY (2016) [Paul's Review]

Gather round kiddos and let me tell you a fairy tale.  This one’s called “The Curse of Sleeping Beauty,” and it’s about a handsome artist and a beautiful sleeping girl who looks like a figure skater who got her head stuck in a chandelier. 
 
The story begins with our hero, the artist, having a reoccurring nightmare in which he kisses a sleeping girl dressed in a blue wrought-iron fence garnished with peacock feathers.  Then he wakes up with sleep paralysis and freaks out.

So he stays in his apartment all day.  How does he get food, you ask?  His friend comes over and brings him stuff.  Who is the friend? 

It’s Farkus! The redheaded neighborhood bully from A Christmas Story!  Remember, the one who hits Ralphie with a snowball and says “Are you going to cry?  Cry! Cry, baby, cry!” and then gets the snot beat out of him by a psycho Ralphie?

Farkus isn’t a bully anymore though, now he’s a decent friend who just wants our hero to leave his apartment.  He’s over his snowball-throwing ways!  But our hero isn’t having it. 
 
Then he goes to a psychiatrist’s office that is full of books.  The books are all out of order and this drives me nuts.  


 
How maddening!

The psychiatrist’s advice?  It’s the same as Farkus’s!  You’ve got to get out of your apartment and put yourself out there! 

So he does!  He goes to the park, and in the park he receives a phone call, and it turns out he has inherited his uncle’s creepy mansion!  See what happens when you put yourself out there?  You get phone calls and mansions!  If the movie ended there, it would be a nice little moral tale about how it’s good to get outside.  But instead, it proceeds.

Our hero goes to explore the mansion and it’s full of creepy mannequins. Like, to the brim.  Literally.  At one point a character opens a closet door and mannequin parts pour out all over him.  The house is so full of mannequins that, were one to add tequila and a spash of triple-sec, you’d have a mannequita!  I spent a long time on that pun, so I’m leaving it right there.  I don’t even care.
 
  

So while our hero is poking around, he meets a blonde woman who is investigating the death of her brother.  A bit later, she tells the story of her brother.  It’s not a very consistent story, which is an accomplishment given that we get the whole story in basically three minutes.  Can you spot the inconsistencies?
 
1.  Blonde says:  “My brother died in that house.”
2.  Blonde says [in the very next scene]:  “I want to find my brother.”  To which our hero replies, “You think he’s here?” 
3.  Blonde says:  “I was in Oregon when I got the phone call.  It was hell on my parents.  But we spent months searching.  That’s why I came down here.” 
4.  Blonde says:  “His name is Luke.  He was supposedly with his girlfriend.  A witness said he saw them walking this way.”
5.  Blonde says:  “They were out one drunken night.  They must have come to the house on a dare.  That was the last time he was seen.”

Did you spot the inconsistencies?  Why is she looking for her brother if he’s dead?  And why were they searching for the brother in Oregon if the last time he was seen was, like, not in Oregon?  Also, why does she think they came to the house “on a dare”?  How does she know they were drunk?  Why is the night drunk?  How does she know he’s dead if that was the last time he was seen?  WHY DOESN’T SHE ASK THE GIRLFRIEND WHAT HAPPENED?

In possibly related news, the home inspector tells our hero that lots of people have gone missing in the area, but the police have searched the house bunches and found nothing.  Isn’t that funny?  Oh well.  I should be going.  Oh, before I forget, I think there’s a hidden room in the basement.  That’s it.  I’ll be on my way then.  No reason to think there’s a connection between the police not finding all of the missing people and that hidden basement room.  No reason at all!

Somewhere along the way, the word “bloodline” is uttered, which lets me know that it’s going to be a rough and long road ahead.  I know I’m nuts, but whenever I hear “bloodline” in a horror movie, I die a little inside.  It’s like, this character is special because “bloodline.”  Something happened a long time ago and now it’s happening again to YOU because bloodline.  It’s like, why not just say “ancestors” or “those old relations” or “Grandpa.”  It’s so pretentious.  Hey, that’s a cute baby you got there, what’s her name?  Her name is Tiffany and she’s the LAST OF HER BLOODLINE.  Gosh, I’m snippy today. That was weird.  Too many mannequitas.  Let’s get back to the story. . .

They explore the basement hidden room (which is behind the ornate illuminated altar which doesn’t stick out AT ALL) and find an old book.  The mannequins attack but the hero can’t leave the house because his bloodline is cursed.  But he leaves anyway and gets sort of drowsy.

They call up a computer guru hacker dude who creates an algorithm to translate the book, and I’m not even going to explore the strangeness of that.  As the computer beeps and boops, the whole sequence is energized by a techno montage of people looking at screens.  Montage complete, our hero discovers that during the crusades, someone in his bloodline (sigh) sacrificed a virgin to an evil Satanic demon named Iblis.  But then a djinn, which apparently is a fire demon, cast a sleeping spell on the virgin, because of course fire demons cast sleeping spells.  Then a special demon, called the veiled demon, protected the sleeping virgin.
 
The upshot is that the sleeping girl, named Briar Rose, can be awoken by a kiss from our hero.  So he goes to do that, because she’s in the basement.  When he does, it turns out that . . .

[spoiler alert]

. . . she’s still possessed by the satanic demon and the djinn (there are 13 of them, because why not?) were simply trying to protect the earth by keeping him from molesting her while she slept.  He wasn’t supposed to kiss her!  Because it will bring about the end of the world!  And also because it’s super creepball to kiss sleeping women you don’t know.

Which brings me to a digression: isn’t the fairy tale of sleeping beauty a bit, I don’t know, non-consensual?  Only yes means yes, Brothers Grimm!

So Briar Rose wakes up and snatches the still beating heart out of the veiled djinn demon who collapses onto, what else, a pile of mannequin parts. After waving the heart around a little bit to make her point, she CGIs into smoke.

In the end, the demon releases all of the evil spirits from our hero’s cursed “bloodline.”  These sort of exhale from his mouth and look like magnified ebola viruses.  And there are a lot of them because he has many kin.  MANY KIN. 


Look, the acting isn’t horrible and there are a number of creepy scenes and jumps depending on whether mannequins do it for you or not.  A random scattering of jokes, usually in the way of offbeat characters who comment on the proceedings as from a peanut gallery, keep things from getting too sturm und drang.  But you’re not going to be able to get past the complete illogicality of the film—the story contradicts itself, is full of plot conveniences (we just got attacked by mannequins!  And then a car pulls up to rescue us!  Who is it?  Oh, the supernatural mannequin expert!  Why is he there?  Just to check things out!  Lucky us!) and wanders into nowhere after the final, embarrassingly predictable twist. 

Questions for Joe:
1.  If Iblis were a piece of IKEA furniture, what would it be?

JD: The new IKEA Logical Circular Couch! That, or it'd be a mannequin that instead of you putting it together, it would take you apart.


2.  During one scene, the two main characters have a deep and meaningful connection while having digital numbers projected on their faces.  What does it mean?

JD: It means they have great cyber. And you know who else has great cyber? The Russians! Sad.


3.  Regarding mannequins.  Too many?  Too few?  Or just right?

JD: I don't know, but I wonder - are there dog mannequins? The answer is yes:




And they're creepy, too!

4.  Also regarding mannequins.  What do they have to do with the story of Sleeping Beauty?

JD: Mannequins have a lot to do with Sleeping Beauty, because they're in Sleeping Beauty, and they're in Sleeping Beauty because they have everything to do with it. Hey look, a mannequin dog!


5.  Guy:  “What time is it?”
Girl:  “Last I checked, 5 PM.”


Is there something wrong with me that I find this response totally weird?  Has my bloodline been cursed? 

JD:    Girl: Director, what's my motivation in this scene?
       Director: Low blood sugar!

No comments:

Post a Comment