A revisit to this Wes Craven film is a good basis for comparison with which to judge the progress of one of the foremost horror masters of today. Yes, Mr. Craven has come a long way and this indeed was not indicative of his promise in the genre. But, of course, when it was made, the strange muddle of mixing ghost story, science fiction and horror house gore into an unrefined tale was common. The storyline here is comparable to watching some half-dozen episodes of the X-Files taped together. We have Satanism, electrical “vortexing”, a maddened serial killer (interestingly, and ironically played by the X-File’s own, Mitch Pillegi) with all the mad chases, mayhem and incredibly unendurable extensions beyond death one will ever sit still long enough to ingest. In fact one comes to lose empathy with everyone and everything attached to the movie before its over…even hoping death will be more merciful.
All this, of course, is not the actor’s fault. Much of the performances are first rate. The talented Michael Murphy does the best he can with an overly predictable and redundant script role and so does Peter Berg. At least Mr. Pillegi is well showcased as a maniac without limits. His service to the role at least makes the film bearable. The lovely Camille Cooper, as Alison, provides one of the most enduring expressions of love this reviewer has seen on the silver screen and one wishes, after her brutal death, she was spared returning as a less than convincing ghost. But Craven has since utilized these qualities in his actors many times in order to increase pathos. Almost like a trademark.
As a study the movie is quite interesting for the viewer of today, but leave it at that. Kindly.
Too graphic in many things for young children. Sometimes almost exploitively…in fact Mr. Craven might pay you not to see it…even more if you can run off to Kamchatka with it and all its copies.