In the eyes of horror fans, Roman Polanski’s adaptation of Ira Levin’s novel Rosemary’s Baby is a crowing cinematic achievement – a twisted, satanic tale about motherhood starring Mia Farrow as a confused, abused, and paranoid woman. Blending psychologically thrilling elements with truly confounding storytelling, Polanski’s greatest strength is never revealing whether Rosemary’s fears are warranted or imaginary, leaving both endings to her harrowing story wide open. Revered as a genre classic, Rosemary’s Baby could be used in any “Storytelling 101” course for aspiring film students, but there’s a problem with classic horror films these days – Hollywood keeps remaking them.
Fast forward to this very date, and if you’re like me, you just watched “Night One” of NBC’s Rosemary’s Baby miniseries event starring Zoe Saldana in Mia Farrow’s iconic role – a boorish two hours barely climaxing before the credits rolled. Think back to Polanski’s two-hour plus run time, and now imagine it dragged out over TWO time slots, both clocking in at an interrupted two hours, because who likes watching brilliant storytelling without a break every few minutes?!
Shifting from Polanski’s high-society New York City townscape, NBC’s story ships Rosemary and her husband Guy Woodhouse (Patrick J. Adams) overseas to France, a ripe location boasting snooty European socialites and sexy accents – highlighted by Rosemary and Guy’s overly-generous new friends Margaux Castevet (Carole Bouquet) and Roman Castevet (Jason Isaacs). While Guy struggles to write a life-changing novel, Rosemary pursues her culinary dream through cooking classes, but after struggling for a short while to make any real progress, the Woodhouse’s suddenly see their luck change drastically after meeting Mr. and Mrs. Castevet – something that might not just be coincidental.