[photo: XLrator Media]

[photo: XLrator Media]

The continued wave of ‘Dark Fairy Tales” has been baffling to say the least. The Brother’s Grim, Snow White and the Huntsman, Hansel and Gretel, the list goes on and on. They are neither memorable films nor box office smashes. And The Curse of Sleeping Beauty seems to be no exception to this new rule.

When Thomas (Ethan Peck) inherits a spooky old mansion that has been in his family for generations, he learns of a curse that has been in his family for hundreds of years. There are of course rooms in the house never to be entered. This coupled with the reoccurring dreams he has been plagued with about a beautiful girl (a Sleeping Beauty!) who needs desperately needs his help, combine to form a perfect storm of mystery and supernatural adventure.

When Disney shanghaied Fairy Tales some 80 odd years ago, smothered them in saccharine and had every one live happily ever after, most of the movie going public forgot that the source material is Germanic in nature and therefore pretty screwed up. (Google Germanic Fairytales sometime if you don’t believe me. Probably NSFW). Thus Fairy Tales are dark. There, it has been said, it never again needs to be mentioned in a “gritty re-telling of a classic tale.”

Taking heavy influence from the dictionary of clichés and using very pretty imagery to mask a truly convoluted and overly conventional script, director Pearry Teo drags us along on a journey more suited for a live action haunted house in October than a “horror” movie. Every character in this film has been seen a dozen times before and there is never a real threat to garner the audience’s interest in any of the events presented. It is hard to be concerned as to the fate of characters if there is no reason to root for them. And this movie fails to provide that in any fashion.

The acting is rather acceptable. Ethan Peck as Thomas truly tries his best with the material provided, and India Eisley is sublimely stunning in her gothic/wonderland inspired getup. So as far as performances are concerned, that might be the only selling point. Sadly, it seems as if most of the budget for this film was spent on elaborate but confusing set pieces and interesting but unconvincing makeup/special effects. And while the unique ending tries it’s best to Shyamalan us into thinking this cinematic experience might have some redeeming value after all, when all is said and done it is unfulfilling and borders on the absurd.

Look for The Curse of Sleeping Beauty on the Chiller channel late, late nights or as a last resort after all of the documentaries have been watched on Netflix. Fairy tales often have morals or lessons, and the one to be taken from this is to let sleeping dogs lie.