The Curse of Sleeping Beauty, directed by Pearry Reginald Teo, is an interesting mix of
fantasy and horror. We follow Thomas Kaiser as he inherits Kaiser Gardens, an estranged uncle’s
home that has been a part of the Kaiser family for many generations. The letter detailing his
inheritance seems to come just in time as Thomas has recently experienced weird dreams
featuring a girl named Briar Rose. Although he originally wanted to repair and get an appraisal of
the home, a series of weird occurrences causes him to keep it and investigate.

     I definitely appreciated the movie’s plot. I am a fan of fairy tale remakes and was initially very
interested to see how it would play out. I have noticed that, with fantasy films, there’s a general
type of lore or backstory concerning the characters. Teo changed this by focusing on Arabian and
Islamic history and mythology. It was a refreshing change from the typical Catholic demons and
ghosts and caused me to be more invested in the movie.

     While the characters could be better, I definitely cared about them throughout the movie. Linda,
who originally poses as a relator, is revealed to be looking for answers to why her brother went
missing in the home. She’s a nice break from the “helpless girl” we usually see in many horror
movies and, in my opinion, is critical to the plot in that she actually encourages Thomas to explore
the place.

     I also appreciated the costuming and scenery within the movie. The film is set in modern day,
but Kaiser gardens seems to be ripped out of a forgotten story book with its huge columns and
decaying interior. It definitely set the creepy tone for the movie without being too stereotypical.
Concerning costuming, there’s a huge emphasis on these mannequin creatures that, while being
unable to harm Thomas due to his bloodline, seriously creep every one out. It had a Doctor Who
vibe in that, similar to the show’s Weeping Angels, the characters had to keep their eyes on them.
Personally, I thought it was one of the best features of the film.

     However, there are some portions of the film that are very stereotypical and somewhat cause
the movie to seem cheesy. For example, also regarding the house, we see the “don’t go into the
basement” storyline almost immediately. In his uncle’s letter, Thomas is instructed never to go into
the lower half of the house.  As Thomas starts repairing the house, naturally, he becomes more
curious about what lurks underneath it. Seeing as how the plot of the film focuses on a more
unusual type of mythology, I had hoped that they would break away from some of the other norms
as well.

     On the flipside of the great scenery and costuming, some of the more fantastical aspects of the
movie took away from its eery plot. The Veiled Demon, who is in charge of watching over Briar
Rose’s body, appears to be completely animatronic. By being covered in gauzy material and
moving ridiculously slowly, I couldn’t help but laugh instead of being creeped out. Similarly, a huge
portion of the magic is simply terrible CGI. Had the movie scaled back or bettered these aspects, it
could have been pretty scary.

     The most infuriating part of the movie would have to be the ending. After Briar Rose turns out
to be a demon instead of the love of Thomas’ life, she takes over his body and uses it to bring on
an apocalypse. The movie ends with her raising his body into the sky and releasing demons from
it, but that’s all we get. I wouldn’t mind the massive cliffhanger if there was talk of a sequel. But, so
far, there is not one in the making. All things considered, I mostly enjoyed watching the film and
would suggest to those looking for a darker version of this classic fairytale.
Fantasy Flashback: "The Curse of Sleeping Beauty" (2016)
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Director: Pearry Reginald Teo
Starring: India, Eisley, Ethan Peck, Natalie Hall, Bruce Davidson, James Adam Lim
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