Two more ingenious shorts have followed, and now, finally, Gudiño’s first stab at a feature with The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh. The budget remains small, while the creeps have increased exponentially.
Do not watch it while alone and in the dark.
Narrated by grand ol’ Vanessa Redgrave (Atonement), the newly departed woman of the title, the film depicts her estranged son, Leon (Aaron Poole, TV’s Copper), exploring the home he has inherited and all its contents. Seems Mom had some “unusual” hobbies, and Gudiño parses out clues as he damn well feels like it, thereby whipping up a bowl of near-unbearable dread.
Dependent upon tremendous detail, his camera never settles down — not in a Michael Bay way, but always alert, ever-observant — scouring corners of rooms, pictures on walls, knickknacks on dusty shelves. One can get a lot of built-in mileage out of Christian iconography, and he does, yet Last Will‘s scares are earned and genuine, as insidious as Insidious.
Give it time to build; it deserves it as much as you. I’d call Gudiño the next great hope for American horror, if only he weren’t Canadian. —Rod Lott