4K Blu-ray Review: Rosemary’s Baby

Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews, Top Story


There are a lot of movies out there, and plenty of them are viewed as timeless classics from back in the day. Some of them hold up today, and despite the deserved praise from when they were released, some of them just don’t. I’ve seen my fair share of both; however, I’ve also got plenty of films left to check off the list that have continued to slip through the cracks for one reason or another. One of those movies was Rosemary’s Baby, which I actually knew nothing about right up until the moment I put this 4K disc into the player.

I knew the title, I knew it was considered an iconic horror film alongside the likes of The Exorcist, however, it just never found the way to the top of my list. Well, it’s the 55th anniversary of Rosemary’s Baby, and to celebrate Paramount has done what it does best with its classic titles, and it’s given it the 4K treatment. Finally, after all this time, Rosemary’s Baby reached the front of the line, and I sat down in my darkened living room and hit play. 137 minutes passed, I turned it off and completely understood why it’s viewed with such prestige, as it’s just a masterfully crafted horror film.

The story unfolds with a spectacular slow burn that’s paced beautifully and truly allows the horror that Rosemary (Mia Farrow) is building up within her to build up within the viewer at the same time. While we know, or at least suspect a little more than Rosemary does about her situation, as a whole we’re learning about things going on just as she is. It’s been 55 years since the film was released, yet I’ll avoid spoilers because if you happen to be someone like me that just never had this movie reach the top of their viewing pile, then you deserve to get to enjoy it as it should be experienced. Plus, there are multiple generations who may have never heard of this film, so spoilers aren’t necessary and won’t do anyone any good.

Before things start to get eerie, the story begins with Rosemary and her husband, Guy (John Cassavetes), moving into The Bramford. This is a building that has a dark history to it, with plenty of unpleasant and grisly happenings that have happened within it over the years. There’s also been recent construction on some of the floors, so certain areas of the (massive for New York) apartments have paper thin walls. That’s likely why Rosemary and Guy can afford the place. They soon meet their elderly neighbours, Roman (Sidney Blackmer) and Minnie Castevet (Ruth Gordon), who take a liking to the young couple. Not long after Rosemary gets pregnant, and the Castevet’s and other neighbours take an extreme interest in the unborn baby’s wellbeing.

What I found most interesting about the film was how the tension and story was built, with a lot of quieter moments that simply saw characters interacting, talking about whatever it may be, and the time being given to moments that allowed them to breathe. Nothing was rushed here, and the score is used sporadically. This helps ground the story in reality in a way that other horror films don’t often attempt to do. There aren’t constant jump-scares, or quickly built moments of tension meant only for shock value. Instead, it’s just a strong, well-told story (based on Ira Levin’s 1967 novel of the same name) with a protagonist that’s incredibly easy for the audience to get behind and root for.

Another thing that helps greatly is just how superb Rosemary’s Baby looks remastered in 4K, as Paramount did marvelous work here restoring the film. A good story can be timeless, but age and deterioration can definitely detract from a movie and pull a viewer out of critical moments if something is distractingly muddied, or overly grainy and dirty looking. That’s not a factor here, as even without having seen previous released, I can state that there’s no way that Rosemary’s Baby has ever looked better. It keeps its filmic look, while also looking sharp and full of details, and the brief moments where makeup and prosthetics come into play look natural and terrifying instead of aging poorly and looking silly.

Honestly, even knowing how highly regarded the film was Rosemary’s Baby still surprised me in the best ways possible. There’s such a magnificent job of properly building up suspense and creating such an unnerving atmosphere that I couldn’t help but be drawn in and fully engrossed right from the start. There’s a psychological element that’s wonderfully juggled throughout, and it truly is a movie that stands the test of time and delivers the bone-chilling goods as strongly today as it did back in 1968.

Overall Movie Score: 5/5

4K Blu-ray Video and Audio Review:

I touched on this in the review, but will do so again here as well. The 2160p/Dolby Vision remastering of the film is superb. It’s top tier and brings this movie to the forefront for newer generations. That’s not to say that it should be dismissed if you can only find it on DVD; however, it’s always a joy to see these older films restored so that they look as though they could’ve been filmed in the past decade. There are beautiful details in the sets, clothing, and scenic shots that bring much more life to the movie when they can be seen in all their glory.

On the audio side of things we’ve got a Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Mono mix, though it still sounds great when it matters. As mentioned in the review, Rosemary’s Baby is a surprisingly quiet film, with no constant use of the score to build meaningless suspense, as that all comes naturally with the story being told. The dialogue is clear, and as a whole the audio tracks work harmoniously with the upgraded visuals.

Special Features:

The special features are found on the Blu-ray disc, so there will be some disc-shuffling for those who watch the movie in 4K and want to learn more about the making of it.

Rosemary’s Baby: A Retrospective – This feature comes in at 17-minutes in length and sees Producer Bob Evans, Production Designer Richard Sylbert and Director/screenwriter Roman Polanski all talk about what it took to get the film made at the start, how Polanski came on board, and how Mia Farrow wasn’t Roman’s choice to play Rosemary.

Mia and Roman – This feature is 23-minutes in length and is pretty interesting in how it’s done, as we get to watch the movie being made, with various scenes being filmed, like we’re a fly on the wall. At the same time Farrow and Polanski are both talking as voice overs about working together, their styles and how they brought out the best in one another’s work.

Theatrical Trailer – If you want to get a look at how the film looked without restoration then take a look at this trailer. It’s a two-and-a-half-minute trailer, but I’d recommend doing so after you watch the film, as it’s just better to go in clean than to catch hints of what’s happening in trailers.

50th Anniversary “Redband” Trailer – This is a 36-second trailer that completely spoils the movie if you haven’t seen it, so avoid at all costs if that’s the case.

Paramount Pictures Presents Rosemary’s Baby. Directed by: Roman Polanski. Written by: Roman Polanski. Based off the Novel “Rosemary’s Baby” by: Ira Levin. Starring: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sydney Blackmer, Maurice Evans, Ralph Bellamy. Running time: 137 Minutes. Rating: 18A. Released on 4K Blu-ray: Oct. 10, 2023.

Brendan Campbell was here when Inside Pulse Movies began, and he’ll be here when it finishes - in 2012, when a cataclysmic event wipes out the servers, as well as everyone else on the planet other than John Cusack and those close to him. Brendan’s the #1 supporter of Keanu Reeves, a huge fan of popcorn flicks and a firm believer that sheer entertainment can take a film a long way. He currently resides in Canada, where, for reasons stated above, he’s attempting to get closer to John Cusack.