Director: Craig R. Baxley
Starring: Nancy Travis, Matt Keeslar, Kimberly J. Brown, David Dukes, Judith Ivey
From the imagination of Stephen King comes a disturbing new tale
Dr. Joyce Reardon is a determined psychology professor, who is interested in a mansion called Rose Red. She is gathering a team of psychics to spend time at the mansion to attempt to gather scientific proof of paranormal phenomena.
The crew of expert psychics get a surprise when they arrive at the mansion. Dr. Reardon has also invited a young autistic girl named Annie to join them. Annie has very strong powers and will be important both for the study, but also for everyone to get out of the place alive.
Mini-series based on stories from Stephen King are usually well worth watching. They have the time to show off all the great characters that make his stories work so well. Rose Red however is not a TV show based on one of his books, but rather a show that he wrote the screenplay for. Originally it was pitched to Steven Spielberg in the late 90’s to be made into a feature film, but the project never got off the ground.
I could see this work way better as a feature film, because it feels like a story that could have been told in half the time of its three-hour long running time. Even if it lasts that long, it hardly goes in on the backstory of each character but rather drags on by adding scares and terror to them. Which is a shame, since these characters probably all had some very interesting stories that could be fun to see.
What I like about the newer ghost films that have been made in the last couple of years is that they do not go overboard on CGI effects for scares, which sadly is something that this film does. It is not effective at all and becomes more of a show-off of effects than creating suspense and scares. It does look more fancy and flashy than your average TV production though and does seem to have had a good budget going for it.
The acting is ok, but few of them manage to make their characters really come to life. Matt Ross is an exception as the obnoxious Emery. I also liked Julian Sands in his part as Nick, although that is more because he is an entertaining actor to watch and not because his character was that great. I wish that they had made Nancy Travis’ character Joyce Reardon much more sympathetic, since she became quite annoying in the final part of this film. Her determination and borderline craziness would be more interesting if we cared about her earlier on in the film.
Rose Red is a decent three-hour mini series. It feels a bit lackluster and I do think they should have been able to do more with such a long running time and a simple story. It fails to give us engaging characters and good scares, but it doesn’t get dull and is worth seeing if you want a decent time waster or have a need to see everything Stephen King has been involved in.