Directed & Written by Rodrigo Gudiño
Starring: Aaron Poole, Vanessa Redgrave, Julian Richings
An antiques collector inherits a house from his estranged mother only to discover that she had been living in a shrine devoted to a mysterious cult. Soon, he comes to suspect that his mother’s oppressive spirit still lingers within her home and is using items in the house to contact him with an urgent message.
Damn. This was bleak even for a horror film. If you’re the kind of person that enjoys technical and artistic merit meeting for the sake of a good film, I think you will enjoy this abysmal tale of loss. The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, the first feature-length film from Rodrigo Gudiño, follows Leon (Aaron Poole), an antique dealer returning to his mother’s home after her death. His mother, obsessed with a cult-like religion that focused on angels. Her home is an eerie testament to her isolated life and the location of 99% of the film. Part ghost story, part disturbing psychological thriller, we quickly wonder if Leon is alone in the sprawling home or possibly losing his shit. Horror movies exploit this ambiguous trait, so be ready to question away.
Much to my annoyance, parts of the film are dependent upon a detached narrative. The disembodied narrative, of course, serves a bigger purpose in the end, but it got on my nerves often. The story is told through several means, including odd VHS recordings of his mother’s “church”. This had to be a challenging role for actor to stay alone in this place and react to instinct and the unseen. The longer Leon stays, the more intense his revelations become.
The end was open to interpretation, so you may want to abandon this if you need complete closure from a film. Exploring some extremely deep themes, this artistic horror tale made me uneasy from the opening moments. I was starting to feel a little claustrophobic from the house. Something about the angelic themed knickknacks and the way the inside and outside of the home merged, managed to get under my skin. This is a skillful horror offering, a film you might want to watch home alone to appreciate everything on a deeper level.