Director: Robert Wise
Writers: Frank De Felitta (screenplay), Frank De Felitta (novel)
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Marsha Mason, John Beck
Director Robert Wise (who had previously directed West Side Story and The Haunting) brings us the slightly creepy tale of possession and reincarnation with Audrey Rose, based upon the novel by Frank De Felitta (who also wrote the Entity). The film is about the titular character (played very impressively by Susan Swift in her debut) As Ivy who has always suffered from terrifying nightmares around her birthday, but this year they have increased in both frequency and intensity.
Cue Elliot Hoover (Hopkins not at his best) to arrive on the scene after following Ivy and her family for some time before making contact with them. He believes that his daughter Audrey Rose who died in a tragic car accident has been reincarnated as Ivy and offers his help to the family. Janice (a typically hysterical Mason) is glad of the help, but her husband Bill (Beck) is skeptical to say the least.
The film received a lot of mixed reviews upon release as a badly remade Exorcist, though in fairness this is not really a horror film as such. It also suffers from terrible pacing with some very long drawn out and repeated scenes, though there are some fantastically atmospheric and creepy shots on view here. Reincarnation was also not widely believed/accepted when this was made and I think at the time many people and critics were quick to gloss over this aspect of the story.
Direction, camera placement, lighting and photography are very good, even if for the most part the acting is a little flat, despite such actors as Hopkins, Robert Walden and John Hillerman (in supporting roles). It’s a difficult film to watch at times due the aforementioned pacing (and incessant screaming from Ivy/Audrey), but if you like your horror/thrillers to be well written, directed and slow-paced then I’d recommend giving it a try.
The Sage’s Rating: 6/10