'The Curse of Sleeping Beauty': Film Review

Courtesy of XLrator Media
This cheesy horror film is enough to put anyone to sleep.

Ethan Peck, grandson of Gregory, stars in this horror film riff on the Brothers Grimm classic.

The latest in a long line of horror films shamelessly ripping off the Brothers Grimm won't leave you believing in fairy tales. It will, however, restore your faith in genetics.

That's because its lead actor, Ethan Peck, is the grandson of Gregory Peck. And he's so drop-dead handsome and chiseled (qualities that the film exploits endlessly) that it's not surprising that he's the face of the new Ferragamo fashion film campaign.  Whether or not he's inherited his grandfather's acting talent is another story, since The Curse of Sleeping Beauty provides little opportunity for him to do anything other than look pained.

In this cheesy horror flick, the thirty-year-old actor plays Thomas Kaiser, who suffers a recurring nightmare in which he's walking in a desert and encounters a sleeping girl, her face painted white, in a canopy bed surrounded by Egyptian-style figures. But before he can fulfill his princely duty to wake her up with a kiss, he awakens in his own bed, his tight tank-top fashionably stained with sweat.

But Thomas' troubles are just beginning, since in true horror film fashion he inherits a decaying mansion (is there any other kind?) from an uncle he never knew he had (is there any other kind?). Said mansion turns out to be cursed (ditto), and apparently responsible for the mysterious deaths or disappearance of dozens of people, including Thomas' uncle, who, you guess it, killed himself.

Needless to say, Thomas soon begins exploring the house's environs, making sure to do so alone and at night. To say that things go bump is an understatement, leading him to seek help from a real-estate broker (Natalie Hall) who has a personal stake in the matter; a paranormal investigator (Bruce Davison, fulfilling the quota of at least one notable actor per B-movie) and an Asian-American cryptographer (James Adam Lim). They all set out to uncover the mystery of the ancient curse and set free Briar Rose (India Eisley), the Sleeping Beauty who's been haunting Thomas' dreams.

Director/co-screenwriter Pearry Teo succeeds in investing the silly proceedings with spooky visual stylishness, providing enough scary demons and possessed mannequins to deliver the requisite jump scares. Unfortunately, the film also features sound, which results in the audience being able to hear the inane dialogue accompanying the familiar horror tropes.

Production: Bleiberg Entertainment, Nexus Motion Picture Company

Distributor: XLrator Media

Cast: Ethan Peck, Natalie Hall, India Eisley, Bruce Davison, James Adam Lim

Director: Pearry Teo

Screenwriters: Pearry Teo, Josh Nadler

Producers: Pearry Teo, Ehud Bleiberg

Executive producers: Danny A. Abeckaser, Nicholas Donnermeyer, Barry Gordon, Michael Radiloff

Director of photography: Christopher C. Pearson

Production designer: Alessandro Marvelli

Editor: Damian Drago

Costume designer: Jacqueline Goehner

Composer: Scott Glasgow

Casting: Nancy Nayor

Not rated, 86 min.