While it wins points for acting work, this TV adaptation fails to recreate the suspense of the original.
What’s not to like about Rosemary’s Baby? Horror? Check. Classic? Check. Zoe Saldana, Jason Isaacs, Patrick J. Adams? Check, check, check. The new miniseries reboot has a lot going for it, but the critics seem to want more from a TV adaptation with such great credits.
Despite Saldana and Co's best efforts, the adaptation just doesn't deliver the chills.
According to the New York Daily News’ David Hinkley, extending the two-hour film into a four episode mini-series serves to dilute the tension, instead of extending it. “Despite the efforts of a good cast, inflating “Rosemary’s Baby” into a miniseries doesn’t give the classic 1968 movie the kind of fresh life its producers no doubt envisioned,” Hinkley writes. Nevertheless, according to him, the miniseries might be good enough for audiences, who never got to see the 1968 original.
Watch the preview below.
The Wall Street Journal’s Nancy deWolf Smith disagrees. According to her, the miniseries offers up enough new and fresh angles to escape the inevitable comparisons with the original. The Parisian setting (versus the original, which was set in New York) the suspenseful violin-laden soundtrack and Saldana’s excellent acting all help to set the scene and maintain the suspense throughout or at least as long as the first episode lasts. But the adaptation is not without its problems, as Smith notes: “What is missing is shock value. This can’t be blamed on director Agnieszka Holland or writers Scott Abbott and James Wong. Although their four-hour production sags and drags in places, it is overall a stylish and engaging new take.”
Robert Bianco, writing for USA Today, sees far fewer redeeming aspects to the new production. Bianco notes that the “witless, ham-fisted approach” to Roman Polanski’s film isn’t the cast’s fault, but the updated versions of the classic characters don’t work at all. “If you're expecting intelligent answers from Rosemary's Baby, you're going to be disappointed. Subtlety has no place here; ambiguity and suspense have been jettisoned for random outbreaks of gore paired with comically obvious allusions to Satanism.”
So horror fans might want to stick to the original after all. If you’re still up for it, however, Rosemary’s Baby airs Sunday at 9PM on NBC.