A week or so ago, after wading through the straight-to-DVD pile of excrement that is The Sigil, I came up with a few choice words regarding my thoughts on some modern horror.

Well, if you want to see the genre done well, and respectfully, I heartily suggest you get yourself a copy of The Last Will And Testament Of Rosalind Leigh, as it has certainly rekindled my passion for current fright flicks.

Okay, so being the huge genre fan I am I was never going to give up on horror, but it is nice to know that when you sit down to watch a straight-to-DVD offering, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to be confronted by a pile of garbage.

In a funny way though, I could still imagine people saying that about Rosalind Leigh, a real slow-burner that is high on atmosphere, dread and religious overtones, but low on in-your-face scares, effects or gore.

Now I’m all for gore as much as the next horror freak, but occasionally you want something a bit deeper – and that is where director Rodrigo Gudino’s effort comes into play.

At a brisk 75 minutes it is little surprise that the film takes very little time in getting going – with Leon Leigh (Aaron Poole) returning to his mother’s home to check things out after she has passed away.

We know all this thanks to a superb, ominous voiceover from the mother (Vanessa Redgrave) that punctuates the film throughout its running time.

Anyway, Leon returns to the old home to be confronted by dark corridors, creaky floorboards, memories of a troubled childhood and a wealth of religious paraphernalia.

As time ticks on, Leon (who seems to have plenty of problems of his own – his father committed suicide, he is on medication etc), comes to realise he may not be alone in the house after all.

And digging around he finds evidence of his mother’s part in a cult of angel worshippers.

But what is for real and what is in his mind – and what part does his mother still have to play in his life?

Aside from the excellent voiceover work of Redgrave and a few telephone conversations here and there, this is essentially a one-man show, and boy does Poole deliver.

Producing a performance that is believable, full of raw emotion and nervous energy without ever once straying into over-the-top histrionics, Poole anchors the film with his presence.

Although there are few other on-screen performances, special mention must also go to the set design, with the old house positively dripping character, with every corner holding some form of dread if seen in the right light.

There are a handful of effects scenes (which ironically is when the film is at its weakest), but in the main director Gudino opts to focus on statues in the shadows, bumps in the night and suggestion, giving the film a real air of quality.

The director, who also wrote the film, also happens to be the founder and publisher of horror mag Rue Morgue magazine, so we may have another talent to hang our horror hats on.

It will certainly be interesting to see what Gudino comes up with next, but for now I thoroughly recommend The Last Will And Testament Of Rosalind Leigh, which offers plenty for a fright fan to chew on.

EXTRAS: Sadly, none

VERDICT: [rating=4]

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.