The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh

Production Year: 2012
Release Date:  07/30/2012
Studio: Image Entertainment

After the death of his estranged mother Leon (Aaron Poole) returns home to collect on his inheritance.  Once he arrives at his childhood home he begins to suspect that his mother might have been part of a very strange religious cult.  Her house has become a shrine filled with strange and occasionally macabre religious artifacts.  As he begins to further investigate the household very weird things happen that have an impact on the man's psyche.  Various videos, magazines, and cassette tapes do not help in his quest to figure out the last few days of his mother's life.  

Rodrigo Gudino is a very recognized and respected name in the horror community as the founder of Rue Morgue magazine.  Who better to create a horror film than someone who is constantly surrounded by all things horror?  With his first film he gives the audience a strong direction tossing in some very creative shots.  On the acting side of things Aaron Poole does a great job carrying the movie while Vanessa Redgrave lends a nice narration.

The Last Will and Testament offers the viewer a few fascinating ideas, some of which are left up to one's own interpretation.  It separates itself from the more modern paranormal films and relies heavily on the eeriness of the set rather than sudden loud noises.  There's a lot of interesting choices made by the filmmaker who allows the camera to move fluidly throughout the haunted abode.  So  does it work?  It's not really a simple "yes" or "no."  On some levels it's great, there are some nice shots and a few genuinely creepy moments that take place inside that house.  The building is easily the best character in the film, filled with enough weirdness to creep out the most hardened paranormal investigator (think Trading Spaces: Hell edition.)  The film slowly builds on what will either be a great haunting or one man's descent into madness.

While the build up is good a few scenes linger at a snails pace and when the film finally takes off it's over. The movie lacks a solid pay off, some of the more intriguing ideas and visuals throughout the story are never expanded on.  Had things been tied together more conclusively and the editing tighter I feel this could have been a great horror film.  Instead we're left with a sometimes tedious film that asks more questions than it answers.

Image Entertainment did a nice job with this release.  As of this review the film has yet to be given the high-def treatment so keep in mind this is just a standard definition release.  As such it gets the job done, it's a new film that was shot digitally so there aren't any real issues with the picture quality.  The audio fares the same with a very nice score that will pour through your speakers loud and clear.  An optional audio commentary with the director is available for your listening pleasure.

There are a handful of special features on the disc included which is a nice change of pace when compared to my last few reviews.  Angels, Antiques, and Apparitions is a making of featurette, also included is an interview with Merican Dede, a poster and photo gallery, and lastly one of Gudino's short films titled "The facts in the Case of Mister Hollow.

I really wanted to like this movie, while it contains a few good original ideas and solid direction the end result falls flat.  With that said the visuals and set design are strong and I do feel that Rodrigo Gudino has a strong career ahead of him, hopefully his next film will be a bit more cohesive.

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