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Craig's Movie Club
Movie Reviews

Spotlight on: Stephen King's Rose Red

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Rose Red DVD Cover Stephen King's Rose Red

I feel that I must first warn all readers of this review of the fact that this miniseries is over four hours long -- without commercials. This is simply so that everyone will know what they are getting into from the very beginning, not because I have anything against long movies per se, just long movies that are way too long.

There are several things wrong with Rose Red, but the main ones involve its relationship to previous Stephen King works. There is much familiar in this production, with references to Carrie, The Shining, Firestarter, and a tip of the hat to Cujo being the most obvious. Unfortunately, these references seem to be just there in order to move along an already-thin plot, not leaving a lot to recommend it.

Nancy Travis (The Vanishing) is sorely miscast as paranormal researcher Joyce Reardon (the supposed author of book tie-in The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer); she just doesn't have the presence to be believable in such an academically passionate role. The usually-wonderful Judith Ivey is ill-used in a histrionic performance.

On the other hand, soap veteran Kimberley J. Brown knows just how to wring every last bit of sympathy from the audience in her role as Annie Wheaton, the catalyst meant to "wake up" the events at Rose Red. Her sister, "Sister," is played by Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures), who, despite her relatively small role, fares the best of all the cast. Matt Ross and the late David Dukes are both quite game in their roles (Emery Waterman and Professor Miller, respectively), but Dukes' character is one-note (sad to think it was his last role) and Ross' acting crescendos throughout the film from "subtle" to "absolutely annoying."

After about two hours of exposition, the plot actually begins to move a bit, but it is always slowly and it is not worth the lackluster "inspirational" ending. For a horror movie, far too many of the cast survive; if more than two or three people are left at the end of a "haunted house thriller," the audience has been cheated. One would think that Stephen King would know how to write a bang-up ending -- especially for something that is partially based on Carrie, which epitomizes the style -- but unfortunately, Rose Red is just one long four-hour disappointment.

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