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When radio talk show psychiatrist, Dr. Sonny Blake, moves back to her hometown, she takes notice of her neighborhood paper boy's unusual behavior.
For more about Rosewood Lane and the Rosewood Lane Blu-ray release, see Rosewood Lane Blu-ray Review published by Brian Orndorf on February 21, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Rose McGowan, Ray Wise, Daniel Ross Owens
Director: Victor Salva
» See full cast & crew
Rosewood Lane Blu-ray Review
Boogeyman with a question mark.
Reviewed by Brian Orndorf, February 21, 2013
I recognize that the 2001 Victor Salva horror film, "Jeepers Creepers," is revered in some corners of genre fandom, but I don't share the enthusiasm. Plodding and poorly acted, "Creepers" (and its 2003 sequel) nevertheless managed to make the notorious director into a brand name, with threats of a third installment possibly surfacing in the next few years. At this point, Salva needs the second sequel more than the public does, forced to taste the bitter pill of the cruel DTV market with "Rosewood Lane," a wretched, idiotic chiller that makes "Jeepers Creepers" look like "The Exorcist" by comparison. Absurdly scripted with no attention to detail, "Rosewood" is Salva's attempt to generate a fright feature built entirely out of mood, dismissing storytelling to maintain a tight focus on unexplained supernatural events, unexplained characters, and unexplained explanations. The picture is a mess without a resolution, perhaps only of value to students of genre cinematography and Rose McGowan fans who enjoy seeing their favorite actress look as confused as they are.
A child of an abusive alcoholic, Dr. Sonny Blake (Rose McGowan) has grown up to become a therapist to troubled teens and a successful radio talk show host, with aid from producer Paula (Lauren Velez). After the death of her estranged father, Sonny reluctantly moves into her childhood home after her inability to sell it, returning to a place that holds dark memories for the doctor, relying on semi-boyfriend Barrett (Sonny Marinelli) for comfort. Discovering the neighbors (including Rance Howard) keep to themselves, Barrett is soon confronted with the wrath of the paperboy, Derek (Daniel Ross Owens), a vicious, black-eyed antagonist who lives to torment the new addition to Rosewood Lane, stalking the doctor inside and outside of her house. Terrified, Sonny turns to inept cops (Ray Wise and Tom Tarantini) for help, only to find little evidence to put Derek behind bars. Investigating the nursery rhyme-loving ghoul-on-a-bike for herself, Sonny discovers his unstoppable drive to torment his victims -- the poor bastards who dare to refuse a newspaper subscription.
"Rosewood Lane" is largely inexplicable, thanks to Salva's insistence that Derek's motives be kept a secret throughout the picture, hoping that shots of his darting black eyes and his refusal to clear the street for oncoming trucks might be enough to communicate the character's malevolence. The idea here to give birth to a fresh screen ghoul known as "The Paperboy," hoping his unusual hunting methods and boyish looks might aid in the creation of a cinematic icon that could feed into sequels and merchandise, picking up where Salva's own Creeper left off. Trouble is, there's nothing to Derek's reign of terror beyond household infiltration skills and his occasional omnipresence, trying to unnerve Sonny by quoting nursery rhymes on her radio show and shifting her ceramic figurines around when she's away from home. At least the Creeper had wings to help define his demonic shape. The Paperboy is merely an adoptee with an eye mutation and a morning route. Salva aims for subtlety with the formation of the character, but he forgets to add macabre details worth investigation, keeping the threat an annoying enigma instead of a gradual revelation of doom.
Salva also cheats his audience by making everyone an idiot. There's a reasonable expectation of illogic with horror efforts, while the best ones are so absorbing, analysis of the particulars isn't even an option. Unfortunately, "Rosewood Lane" is all about mangled motives and incomplete subplots, with major portions of the story left unresolved, contributing to an easy dismissal of the work. There's a significant development with Barrett, who delivers a lengthy speech about his fear of burial due to a childhood prank, a conversation triggered by his fall into a backyard pool construction site that, at the time, he didn't seem particularly fazed by. Of course, Derek sets up the illusion of the man's burial in the third act to hurt Sonny, but we never find out what happens to character. He simply disappears. There's also a question of proving Derek's antics to the stooge-like cops (these guys couldn't find light with a lamp). Sonny could purchase a surveillance system for her house, capturing the torment on a hard drive, but she doesn't. Sonny could make a phone call to the local paper to research Derek's identity, but she doesn't. It's established that dogs go absolutely crazy when Derek is near, so Sonny buys a cat. The list goes on and on. Instead of tight suspense , we're treated to limp sequences of halfhearted research meant to expose Derek's skills of deception and misdirection, but mostly feel like improvised filler for Salva, who's trying to make a 10-minute idea fill 96 minutes of screen time.
It appears most of Salva's attention is devoted to shadow play and lighting cues for Derek's presence, calling on the masters of suspense to provide visual inspiration for the picture's mysterious manner. While diverting, it's wasted on lousy writing. It's impossible to feel the intended tension when everyone in the frame deserves what's coming to them.
Rosewood Lane Blu-ray, Video Quality
The VC-1 encoded image (2.35:1 aspect ratio) presentation doesn't support the suspense intentions of the picture. Black levels are generally clotted, crippling frame details during the movie's extensive nighttime events, with edges partially erased and distances spoiled. The HD cinematography is primarily crisp, though some filtering is present to blur movement. Fine detail is more of a mixed bag, great with static close-ups that allow facial textures to sink in, while daytime neighborhood incidents are illuminated in full, showcasing bold primaries and suburban flora. Hues are a bit more challenging to enjoy when the sun goes down. Skintones are largely natural and pink. There is no print damage detected.
Rosewood Lane Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA sound mix generally tries to provide a more immersive listening experience when the moments call for such expanse. Neighborhood echo is interesting, and music cues tend to feel out the surrounds, also remaining quite alert in the front stage, with crisp instrumentation and pleasing intensity without distortion. Verbal interaction is deep and nuanced, sustaining emotional cues and group activity in a consistent manner, while more frenzied acts of violence are easily understood, maintaining what passes here for tension. Low-end is minimal, never taxed beyond surging orchestral stings.
Rosewood Lane Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Rosewood Lane Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Maybe Salva is saving all his answers for a potential sequel, which is lousy way to conduct business. The conclusion of "Rosewood Lane" is pure nonsense, leaving the viewer with the exact same information they arrived with, finding the director keeping Derek's true form and evil inspiration to himself, which ends up being the most truly terrifying element of the film. "Rosewood Lane" is almost left unfinished, yet instead of instigating further examination and post-screening conversation on possible origin stories, Salva's clumsy ways are almost a relief, allowing for outright refusal of this pointless, lifeless movie.
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