THE CURSE OF ROSALIE (aka The Harbinger) ** USA 2022 Dir: Will Klipstine. 114 mins
This film makes a point of saying that it uses people from Veteran Films a non-profit production company created to provide jobs for Veterans, Victims of Domestic Violence, and Native Americans. These people are employed in crew and cast to build a future for themselves. Worthy yes and this is going to upset some but are they good people for this film?The Curse Of Rosalie (2022) is a drain on the eyeballs and the brain with some limited positives.
The Curse Of Rosalie (2022) was also known as The Harbinger but amazingly it changed the title from that possible due to the infinitely more solid film of the same name by Andy Mitton. Firstly, you are saddled with a script that is filled with so many horror clichés from the evil rural kid genre that they make no sense. The script is convoluted to the point that the confessional scene where the plot is revealed takes the viewer for granted particularly the end regarding past events of Daniel (Will Klipstine).
The plot revolves around the Snyder family: insurance salesman dad Daniel (Will Klipstine) mum Theresa (Yes really the character name) played by Amanda MacDonald, and young daughter Rosalie (Madeleine McGraw). Rosalie was a happy child in this Norman Rockwell version of the rural American Family. Yes, the family laughs and giggles as they put cookie dough on their faces, chasing each other around the room in all its nauseating connotations. This culminates in probably one of the most irritatingly sugary songs ever in the history of the horror film that is sung by Daniel and Rosalie. The painful words even get billing in the credits in the music.
Rosalie now is a bitter staring child who announces at funerals that the dead is burning in hell. She kills other children’s pets when playing with them without remorse. The family relocates to the midwestern suburb where the neighbours are creepy with their excessive ‘we take care of our own.’ Daniel seeks spiritual help from a Native American seer called Floating Hawk (Irene Bedard). She gives him tea and tells him to bare himself to her about his past then which involves sacred burial grounds, giant keys, and evil-dispersing daggers. It is revealed that a Harbinger is among them making the locals commit suicide as that is the ultimate sin. The souls are collected by the Devil, yes Satan Himself. The deaths mount up and suddenly the goody townspeople blame the Snyder family and their moody kid. Suffice it to say the Harbinger plays a big role in this as we have a fight in rather a stylish crypt.
Hard to find positives in The Curse Of Rosalie (2022) as the direction in places is sluggish, and the actors are even below B grade but well-intentioned. The script that Director Will Klipstine co-wrote tries to do too much with too little so we just toss everything we can into a mix to see what sticks with people. Bright spots are the actors such as Steve Monroe as John Driscoll who is a hoot as a beer-drinking foreman neighbour and Diana Wilde as the happy almost maniacal neighbour Betty Goss who welcomes the Snyder’s by almost hitting them with her vehicle. Madeleine McGraw channels or tries to find her inner Wednesday Addams with some truly, cliché lines in a deadpan style that she must have had trouble not giggling at after.
The Curse Of Rosalie (2022) would have been so cool as a comic satire with all the colours outside compared with the drab furnishing in the Snyder home. Some of the people employed could go onto better things after all a young Rob Bottin was on the effects crew for Humanoids From The Deep (1980). Some of the actors hit the notes with those over-the-top bits however the film gets bogged down doing too much with too little. Please leave that wretched song in the pro tools delete bin.
Review by Terry Sherwood