San Diego Latino Film Festival 2013 presents The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh

last_will_and_testament_of_rosalind_leigh

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio:  Someone at the Door Productions

Director: Rodrigo Gudino

Review Rating: 7.5

A son returns to the antiques-filled estate of his estranged mother after her death, only to discover she might not be quite so gone, after all.

There seems to be a trend cropping back up in the Indie Horror film circuit, that of the simplified movie with all of one or two actual actors tops, a fine gripping storyline, and a creeptastic score to round it all out. I for one am overjoyed at such a thing, and Rosalind Leigh follows that trend with a breathtakingly unique style all its own. Director Gudino presents us with a vision of both beauty and hold-your-breath terror.

The film is narrated by Leigh herself (given Vanessa Redgrave’s voice, wow), and though we are informed of her death right at the beginning of the film, as the movie goes on, she seems more alive than ever. Her house, stuffed full of valuable antiques, angels and gargoyles and platitudes oh my, breathes her everywhere. Especially for her estranged son Leon (Aaron Poole), who comes to stay in the house to deal with her estate after her passing. And yet. Memories are haunting the hell out of him, especially in the form of a particular angel statue that evokes a sinister game he and his mother played when he was small. The film brings to mind the flip side of a dark Christianity, like The Prophecy did. Given the order to, angels can actually be very nasty, and so can their followers in fanaticism. Leigh seems to have been involved in an angelic cult and hints darkly as that being the result of Leon’s fathers death without actually coming right out and saying it. All around Leon, as he stays within the manor peopled by nothing but statuary and a dark past, memories are clamoring to be let in whether he likes it or not. And the most prevalent memory of all, of Rosalind Leigh herself and how unbearably lonely she is without him, is the one thing strong enough to keep Leon from leaving, now that he’s finally here. Forever.

I quite liked the ending, actually. It wasn’t abrupt, it wasn’t a Gotcha! moment, it wasn’t two minutes of Saw-style cluex4 recap either. Rather, you take all you’ve learned about Rosalind Leigh and Leon up to this point, and draw your own conclusions. Are the angels real? Is Leon himself even real? The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh will echo through your consciousness, insistent on the sad dark memories, a reminder of just how far a person will go to ease the aching loneliness in their soul.

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