71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
Sometimes I am blithely unobservant. Arriving at the decision to see Rose Red based on one of those AI recommendation machines, I never noticed that it was 1) by Stephen King, and 2) the four hour version of a television special. In retrospect, I'm really not sure why I decided to see it, since haunted house horror movies generally don't grab me. But I did, and after a moment of shocked realization discovered that I was having fun watching it.
The story isn't anything spectacularly original. Joyce Reardon (Nancy Travis), a parapsychology teacher, bets her entire career on the possibility of finding measurable psychic phenomena at an eerie old mansion (Rose Red) in the heart of Seattle. Said mansion has a long history of eating people, and Reardon's plan is to invite a selection of psychics to spend a weekend at the house in order to wake it from a dormant state. Her ace in the hole is Annie Wheaton (Kimberly Brown), an autistic 15 year old who is an industrial strength tele-everything.
Sure enough, the house wakes up, fingers get lopped off, people drown, and a whole host of equally nasty things start to happen. As the mysteries about the house begin to unravel, things get even worse and it becomes clear that Rose Red has no intention of letting anyone go. From that point on it is a pure battle for survival.
The house is the real star of the film. It is huge, full of weird rooms and interconnected hallways, and has a knack for rebuilding and changing itself. CBS went all out to make it a spooky masterpiece, and they did a good job of it. It's the kind of nightmare that you really would like to visit. Think of it as a haunted theme park and you have the atmosphere.
Acting varies, but is generally decent. I'm not sure about Nancy Travis though. She makes Joyce on of those sublimely irritating characters that you start out sympathizing with and wind up hoping she gets his with an axe. No such luck. Julian Sands and Matt Ross are brilliant and everyone else has moments of greatness.
So I likes the show after all. Since it's made for TV, don't expect a lot of gore or out and out violence. The film starts a bit slowly, but the upside of that is that king spends as much time on character development as he does on plot twists. While this isn't a masterpiece, it's worth watching on a lazy Saturday afternoon with buckets of popcorn.
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2002
Rose Red, a spectacular miniseries written by horror-master Stephen King and directed by Craig Baxley (Storm of the Century), was shown on ABC in late January 2002. Many reviewers in the media were not exactly excited about this film. I did not see it when it first aired, though I deeply wished to. Eventually, I bought the DVD; I was ready to watch it. I enjoyed it throughly.
I think Nancy Travis' role as Joyce Reardon was a little overdone, however. (Maybe Ms. Travis should just stick to Comedy.) I was hypnotized by Kimberly J. Brown's performance as Annie Wheaton, a autistic telepath. I also could not help but love Julian Sands' portrayal as the incredibly witty, incredibly psychic Nick Hardaway. The score is haunting and beautiful, and it makes me wish there was a CD available that had that on it (10 points go to Gary Chang!).
As for the movie, I think that the beginning characterization is something that was necessary, and it was a nice switch from the usuaul gore fest you in Horrors today. Bravo, Stephen. The special effects are superb. Flying stones, building houses, close-ups that get your heart going, ghosts that make you afraid of what may be sleeping on the other side of your bed. Not to mention the stunning animatronics made for the role of Ellen Rimbauer. Some people have found it chillingly scary, but I didn't find it all that frightening (And I'm only 13!).
Now for the plot. The basic story is much like Shirley Jackson's THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE. (Or was it Hell House?) "Some Houses Are Born Bad". You betcha. This house, which was built in the late 1800s/early 1900s, builds on to itself (To understand more about the history of Rose Red, I highly suggest the page-turner THE DIARY OF ELLEN RIMBAUER: MY LIFE AT ROSE RED). So, crazy Joyce Reardon, obsessed with Rose Red, leads a team of psychics into Rose Red to wake up the supposed "dead cell". Soon, the house's dead spirits, who were never really gone, start to reek havoc and people start disappearing. Everything leads up to dark secrets revealed and a climatic ending that is predictable.
The reason why I say FOUR STARS, and not five, is that by the time you arrive to Disk Two of the DVD, after the "statue incident" (You'll know what I mean when you get there), you begin wondering when this movie will end. Though every single part is necessary in my view, I believe it does get slightly long-winded. The Special Effects are quite amazing, however.
As for the Special Features of the DVD, there isn't a whole lot. There's original storyboard designs, a 50 minute long documentary on the making of ROSE RED, a fake documentary on Ellen's diary (I think that was supremely creative), artwork, a trailer and Commentary. It does give a in-depth look at everything, but it didn't get me exicted or anything.
All in all, I believe it is a great movie to watch when you have an open four hours (insert snicker here). Kudos to King and Baxley for a job well done.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2002
I love Stephen King's mini series, I would make sure and set my VCR every time one would come on. This was no exception I had to sit and watch. Yes its long but very detailed and enthrawlling masterpiece. Stephen King captures this Haunted House tale of "Rose Red." If you love good old haunted houses and scary stories you'll love this. It has the sense of reality, maybe perhapes because some haunted houses are real or we would like to think so. Every house has a story, and this one is certainly has it's tale to tell.
It's about a mansion of a house thats been built by John Rimbauer who built it for his wife as a wedding gift. Some gift I have to say. His wife then gets the idea about ghosts, and her having to build the house until it's done. It's a spectacular house with mysteries to every room. And every room having a story to tell. But that's not where the story ends. Dr. Joyce Reardon played by a very great Nancy Travis, loves the story of Rose Red...who wouldn't? She embarkes on getting a group of psychics with their own specialties to awaken the house of Rose Red. The one with the key to open the house is an amazing teenage girl who's Autistic girl named Annie Wheaton who has a special gift. I think that's why I love most of Stephen King's stories he seems to use children as the key to the unseen world. Such as in Stephen King's IT. Not to mention he's a fantastic story teller bringing together a remarkable cast and crew together to tell this haunted tale of which originally aired on ABC. It has a wonderful haunted tale, amazing characters that you'll love and love to hate.
The DVD is a great buy! I was really impressed with it. It has a fantasic The Making of Rose Red. Which is very detailed and I think longer than a half an hour. It goes through the special effects, and how Stephen King got his idea to tell the tale, which is in fact based on the Winchester House in San Jose, California. It also goes through make up, and the cast tells their story of the making of the film. It's Stephen King's first I think since his accident. At least his television story mini series. And not to worry, Stephen King makes an appearance in his movie of course. The making of it is great I loved it. If you like the behind the scene's stuff that goes into the movie. It also pays tribute to David Dukes who sadly passed away in the movie. It also goes into detail of the book, The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer, with Dr. Joyce Reardon. But they leave that part up to you whether to believe or not any way it's fun and detailed of the story before the team enters Rose Red. It also has production commentary which I have yet to view and other languages to select. I give the movie and DVD an A+!!! Just remember, "Every house has a story to tell...this one will kill you."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2005
This DVD contains a mini-serie of two episodes based on a script by Stephen King. It is long, 245 minutes (if I remember correct?), but this is by far one of the best King-screen-adaptions I have ever seen. Talented actors (delievering remembarable performances here), impressive camera-work, good effects, yes, a surprisingly well done production - and that for a TV-movie.
I have seen many (perhaps most) horrible thrillers based on Stephen Kings' books. Christine, It, Sleepwalkers and so on and on. B-movies based on great books though, but it is a shame that all these past productions reflects all the great work from this famous, talented actor. The most famous and critically acclaimed "The Shining" (Jack Nicholson) after all is more Stanley Kubricks' than it is Kings', only vaguely based on the book of the same name.
Rose Red was a surprise, and I would nearly call this a masterpiece. It doesn't give you the impression that the production-theme was in a hurry, more the oposite actually. It shows that the moviemakers with the actors were having a good time doing this, and doing their best that is.
The movie reminded me instantly of "The Haunting" (Neeson, Zeta-Jones) from the late 90's, but is far more talent than effects, and a thin script. The actors are better too, and I mean it! But these movies share a lot of similarities, so if you liked "The Haunting" you'll probably love this one. I know did.
Creepy? It's not "The Ring", but watching it on nightschift as I did yesterday it sure had some effect on me. And it doesn't seem as long as it actually is. The castle (if that is what "Rose Red" should be called is amazing, the place is a horror-movie itself, and far more spooky (not to mention BIG!) than the haunted building in "The Haunting" (another comparatition).
I'll watch it again tonight, I'm on nightschift again :)
The best King-horror-movie in years, perhaps the best ever, and the first to be worthy of his pen (if you know what I mean). And a great TV-production! Recommended if you liked Kings' version of "The Shining". Well done!
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2002
This movie was the greatest Stephen King movie I've ever seen! His books are great, but most of the movies based on his books are corny. His books are scary, but his movies usually have poor special effects. This movie however was really really good! It was scary enough for me, and that is saying alot! If you get a chance, i would definately see this no question! I've been waiting for it's release on DVD since I saw the miniseries! However, before seeing this movie, I strongly recommend reading the Diary of Ellen Rimbrauer as it is a prequel to this movie.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS Tape
Rose Red (Craig Baxley, 2001)
Craig Baxley, who did such a wonderful job with the adaptation of Stephen King's Storm of the Century (and recently completed an adaptation of one of my favorite woefully underappreciated books, Brooks Stanwood's chilling The Glow), took on another written-for-the-small-screen King miniseries and came up with an opposite effect. In all the places where Storm was great, Rose Red stumbles.
The plot surrounds a haunted house in Seattle (can we all say The Winchester Mansion, folks?) and a professor of child psychology, Joyce Reardon (Nancy Travis, of So I Married an Axe Murderer fame), who believes that the key to getting hard evidence of the paranormal phenomena in the house lies in a sixteen year old autistic girl named Annie (Kimberley Brown, of various Nickelodeon movies and A Bug's Life). She also invites Annie's sister Lauren (Melanie Lynskey, most famous as Kate Winslet's foil in Heavenly Creatures) and a plethora of other psychics along for the Memorial Day Weekend ride.
The main problem witbh Rose Red is that, despite a cast that redefines "high-powered" where TV miniseries are concerned, the whole thing is painfully overacted. Of the entire cast, only Julian Sands (as psychic Nick Hardaway) and Lynskey deliver performances that would seem out of place on a daytime soap opera. Storm of the Century gave us a cast of then-relatively-unknowns who played their parts with chilling minimalism. The comparison is painful.
Worth seeing if you're a King completist, but Storm of the Century or the video release of The Stand (six hours on tape, eight on TV) is a much better way to spend a long King-soaked afternoon. ** 1/2
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2002
Since this DVD was 2 disks I expected to watch it over 2 or even 3 nights. But I got so involved with the characters that it became an all night marathon. The story is in the true tradition of Stephen King a study in the relationships of the characters, some alive some dead, with eachother and how they are changed by their experience. We are enticed by this and as each character becomes a real person to us we just HAVE to find out what happens to each one. The death of actor David Dukes was unfortunate and left us wondering what happened to his character, Prof. Miller. I guess we will have to read the book to find out. Casting was very good, the scenery and effects were fabulous. I enjoyed the special feature "The Making of Rose Red" but the "The Diary of ..." was too fake for me like The Blair Witch or Jersey Devil. It was just "fluff" for the DVD I guess. But, as a movie, this is a wonderful addition to any haunted library.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2005
Stephen King's Rose Red miniseries is unsettling but not very scary. The special effects are mediocre, and the show itself is very long. But the length of the show draws you into it, so you definitely do end up feeling uneasy, especially if you watch it at night. Go ahead and make some snacks; you will need them, and there is no chance you will drop them out of your hand if something in the movie scares you. I am very jumpy, but did not even twitch. Usually, I forego snacks at scary movies, but you will need sustenance for this!
The story is about psychology professor Joyce Reardon (Nancy Travis from Becker) who is losing her tenure and desperately clawing at a chance to find strong evidence of supernatural phenomena for fame and fortune. Despite the threats and intimidation of Professor Miller (David Dukes), her department head, she gathers a team of psychics to go on an expedition to a great abandoned house known as Rose Red.
Rose Red was built there in Seattle in the early 1900's. Wealthy entrepeneur Mr. Rimbauer built it for his young wife Ellen. The marriage did not go well. Ellen became obsessed with the house, even though her young daughter April vanished there. Many people disappeared in Rose Red, and the house was soon closed to even historical tours.
The film is worth watching only because of the creepy little powerful psychic autistic girl named Annie (Kimberly Brown), and because you want to see what happens to all the characters as they are trapped together in the house. My favorite character by far was Emery (Matt Ross). Emery is a fat, nerdy, but hilariously arrogant Mama's boy who runs around the house with his mouth open. I was falling off my chair laughing. I love Emery! Emery is the bomb! His mother was a pretty good character, too.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2005
Well, Stephen King did an absolutely fantastic job writing this story for the production of this movie. Even though the movie is 4 hours long, the movie didn't bore me for one second. I really enjoyed this, especially Annie, the little autistic girl. I thought she was a very good touch to the story line. Also, to top it off, I found myself having a very hard time falling asleep after I watched this movie. It absolutely terrified me throughout the movie. I would recommend this movie to anyone who's out for a good thrill.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Stephen King really outdid himself with this movie. This is by far his best movie to date. The special effects and makeup are just amazing in this movie. The acting is wonderful, there are some great performances by Nancy Travis as Dr Joyce Reardon, Matt Ross as Emery Waterman, Melanie Lynskey as Rachael "Sister" Wheaton, Kimberly J. Brown as Annie Wheaton, Matt Keesler as Steven Rimbauer, David Dukes as Professor Miller, Julian Sands as Nick Hardaway, Kevin Tighe as Victor Kandinsky, Judith Ivey as Cathy Kramer, Emily Daschanel as Pam Asbury. The acting was very believable and well done. Julia Campbell did a great job in her performance as Ellen Rimbauer, a big change from her role in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, and Tsidii Leloka was amazing as Ellen's servant and companion Sukeena. Laura Kenny played to perfection the role of Kay Waterman, Emery's overprotective and partially insane mother. The movie is pretty much like any haunted house movie, some guests come into haunted house and are paid to stay there. When they arrive one by one the guests began to disappear until in the end only a few lucky ones escape. The story may be formulatic and even predictable but with this movie it proves be an okay thing. Rose Red is definitely a chilling haunted house movie that you should add to your scary movies collection.