Leon's traumatic past with his religious mother creeps back up to the surface when he inherits her house and decides to stay for a while. Not only that, but he starts to suspect that she was part of something strange, and that her spirit is somehow trying to get in contact with him.
Recently we've seen several horror stories that slowly sneak up on your with creepiness. Movies where they work on the atmosphere and character development before everything else, only to at some point (usually around 3/4 into it) start seriously throwing creepy things at you. I will go into this more later, but I just wanted to start by saying that I am really appreciating this less-is-more thing that is going on. It's good to see solid build-ups that also manages to deliver up until the end.
The Rosalind Leigh from the title is the recently deceased mother of Leon. They haven't had contact in quite a while, and Leon has some dark memories from growing up with her and her strong religious beliefs. Now Leon is an antiques collector, and he has inherited her old house. He tries to decide what to do with it and everything in it, he decides to spend some time there as well. He always knew she was a deeply religious woman, but when he digs through her belongings he's quite shocked to realize that she was part of a strange cult. He starts to believe that the things she left behind are aiming to tell him something, and that her spirit might be lingering in the house to make sure she gets her message across. As loneliness creeps up on Leon, dark things are coming out of his mother's past, and even darker things come out of the shadows.
"The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh" is a slow movie in every sense of the word, but doesn't drag its feet. It spends a lot of the time showing us the house and the many statues, artifacts, etc. that Rosalind left behind. It features some really smooth cinematography through the house, and is overall a very visual movie in its own little way. Adding to the slowness, Leon is the only character with a screen time over a few minutes in total. Other characters are present through a television, narration or simply being off screen (behind a door and in a phone). It builds an intense loneliness in the audience, which is directly taken from what Leon is experiencing. Being this lonely is what makes the last part of the movie a lot more creepy, when things actually start to happen. I won't go into details, but Leon ends up being "haunted" (not the right word as it's not really a ghost) by something out-of-this-world.
I found the approach of telling the story, using a lot of narration, to be very interesting. However that also becomes a problem because I felt it was hard to find a direct and logical connection to everything. It's somewhat unclear in some aspects, but whether that matters or not is gonna be a matter of taste. Personally I didn't feel all of my questions were answered. Some of that comes from the narration being the guidance, as narration is less personal and structured differently, often keeping certain things vague.
The strongest point in "The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh" might just be that it really puts us into a mood before it develops the story too much. We're not fed with information, but instead we are visually guided through a lot of it. When it finally brings in more horror elements, it's all the creepier and more explosive. It's definitely gonna be a matter of taste, as I think a lot of people will enjoy it less than I did. Overall it's a solid movie, though. It suffers from a few things but nothing major that would ruin it. Give it a shot if you want a creepy mood piece.