Late-night radio doc, Sonny Blake, is haunted by her past. We know this because Rosewood Lane has great chunks of its svelte 92 minute runtime devoted to telling us so.

She has Daddy-demons and bad-boyfriend demons and, potentially/possibly/maybe, a demon-demon to battle. That’s a lot of demons. Fortunately, life as the 21st Century Jack Killian has armed her well. Doctor Sonny believes there is no such thing as an accident. She tells her callers this – often. And she’s going back to the ‘burbs to confront her past. Nothing scares Sonny – she’s a can-do kind of gal.

Flash-forward a day, and a quick unpack, and Sonny (Rose McGowan) is scared of her scary paperboy (Daniel Ross Owens). We know he is scary because her next door neighbor tells us so. And dogs chase his bike down the street. That the only concrete scary thing about the paperboy, thus far (really-well-ironed trousers notwithstanding), is the fact he is an adult with a paper round, is creatively overlooked. In fact poor old Rosewood Lane’s fatal flaw is the absolute absence of tension-build in the opening moments of what ought to have been a taut and entertaining little thriller.

There is a good, if extremely distasteful, reason why the minor in this film is played by a twenty-nine year old man, but viewing Rosewood Lane before Googling was a confusing experience. I gave the slipshod story slightly more credit than it deserved by assuming the paperboy was a mystical man-child trapped in eternal youth. He wasn’t. Jolly good Brit flicks Eden Lake and The Children show quite how horrifying evil youngsters can be. Rosewood Lane falls at the first hurdle by casting a pretty man to play a creepy kid.

Writer/director Victor Salva sharpened his horror chops on the Jeepers Creepers movies and should have made more of the wonderfully schlocky premise (which I shall not reveal here, as a few flimsy surprises are all the charms his latest can muster). I have rather a soft spot for Jeepers Creepers and, despite Rosewood Lane hitting DVD without Sonny setting so much as her scarlet-varnished-toe into theatres, I was looking forward to some trashy thrills. I was disappointed. The other name of the piece – Ray Wise – is awkwardly crow-barred into the story as one of a pair of cops bookending Sonny’s hysteria with their doubt. Even Rose McGowan, who shone in Grindhouse vixen roles in both Planet Terror and Death Proof, seems shipwrecked in her starring role.

It would be awfully useful to shun disbelief altogether should you wish to buy or rent Rosewood Lane. While it might work well as a pizza side-dish in the 9pm lull at a teen sleepover or as a tipsy stumble-upon when it inevitably hits the Horror Channel, investing your hard-earned cash and time in such a lopsided flick is a different matter. For me the film improved dramatically after the one hour point and the occasional shiver of disquiet I had felt beneath the tedium of the first sixty two minutes consolidated into something approaching fear towards the end. Ultimately though, it was too little too late.


Rosewood Lane is available on DVD & EST from 15th October.

The DVD includes a theatrical trailer & Making Of featurette.