Rodrigo Gudino is the founder of a horror enthusiast magazine called Rue Morgue. Those aren’t really the credentials I look for in a director. So I can hardly blame you if you suppose his latest movie, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, wouldn’t be worth watching, even though he somehow finagled Vanessa Redgrave into lending it her stately voiceover. But rather than read anything I have to say to the contrary, watch this minor masterpiece of tableau. Seriously. Just watch it. It’s only six minutes. And it’s the six minutes that sealed the deal for me wanting to see Gudino’s latest movie without knowing anything else about it.
Last Will and Testament presumably stars Aaron Poole — I know him from Ed Gass-Donnelly’s fascinating Small Town Murder Songs — as a man staying in his mother’s house shortly after her death. But the real star of the movie is the production design for the house. If you watched the short I linked above, you’ll see in this movie’s set the same amount of lovingly eerie detail. You’ll also see the camera once again as an active participant. Gudino uses it to prowl the house with otherworldly intention. Is he showing us things? Is this someone — or something — looking at things? Is this a ghost’s point of view? And how does he explain Redgrave’s voiceover? Although it’s ultimately more mood than plot, I’m convinced it all makes as much sense as it needs to make. And although it’s slow, creepy, and subtle, it’s perfectly willing to be shocking. There are at least two “what the effing eff did I just see?” scenes, including one where I couldn’t see half the scene. But when Gudino wants to show you something, he sure knows how to show it.
The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh is currently available on VOD services. Watch is here on Amazon.com to support Qt3.