It's no secret that this is a film just about as legendary as 'The Exorcist' when it comes to the early days of demons, the occult and other such things. The thing is, 'Rosemary's Baby' came quite a bit before 'The Exorcist', and largely ends up being a little less entertaining for me now but does manage to fit its time like some sort of perfect glove. With that always comes a sort of admiration and respect for the film, even if it isn't entirely up my alley.
Plot-wise, we have a stage actor named Guy Woodhouse (John Cassavetes) and his wife, Rosemary (Mia Farrow), who move into a new home. This home captures their eye with a particular Renaissance Revival design. However, the couple is warned by their friend Hutch (Maurice Evans) that the building has a dark past that consists of witchcraft and even murder. However, the couple passes it all off as superstition and moves in anyway, breaking things in with a nice love-makin' sesh. Now, let's cut to the chase, shall we? Considering this was 1968, and the film's classic status, I think its safe to say everyone knows by this point what the film ends up being about. But I do feel the need to point out what makes this classic material in its own right.
The whole gist of the tale here is that Rosemary is impregnated by the Devil, himself, as the Devil has selected her to carry his demonic hell-spawn offspring. But the real horror from this movie comes from the idea of whether or not what she experienced in the process was real or just a dream - giving us the famous line "This is no dream! This is really happening!" So its the whole idea that she's likely carrying Guy's baby, but... who knows? What makes matters worse is that Guy keeps insisting she sees the same doctor, Dr. Sapirstein (Ralph Bellamy) who, at least to Rosemary, doesn't seem to know his ass from a hole in the ground. Her only real hope is to go behind Guy's back to see an otherwise recommended doctor, Dr. Hill (Charles Grodin).
With all that said, I think for its time it actually is a very well-done film. I mean, as far as 1968 horror is concerned, this does a very good job of getting into one's psyche and just messing with the viewer, using subject matter taken MUCH more seriously at the time. The downside from my perspective is that this is a movie with a whole lot of talking, so the horror aspects of it are mostly pretty subtle, save for two scenes that capture the imagination quite well. I refer to the scene with the aforementioned famous line, and of course, the way the film ends. Despite the thought I have of this being much more directed toward women, the ending does leave one with a very uneasy feeling. It's not scary, but it leaves you with a bit of a knot in the stomach.
This is widely regarded as being one of the best horror films of all time. I think it has earned that right, but it has everything to do with the time of its release, having it predate so much that we're so used to today. It's difficult for me to say that I truly enjoyed this movie all the way through, though. Personally speaking, I was bored for most of it, and it's over two hours and definitely feels like it. But I'm also glad I finally saw it, and I can admit that it has its place in the genre. It just happens to be another title I can fully respect and give credit to for what it is, but it's not so much for me I would give this a 3 if not for its legendary status and recognition for what the film meant at the time. It may deserve a second or third viewing to see if it grows on me in any way, but sincerely... I'm way more of an 'Exorcist' type.