Marriage of a midlife, middle-class, childless couple is in a rut. Sophie has become depressed, frigid and slightly paranoid and Otto is stuck in optimistic denial. Things escalate at their summer cottage, but no one dares call it quits.
Frank D. Gilroy
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Norah Benson, an affluent socialite living in the upper east side of New York, seems to be living the perfect life as a divorced mother of two. After her mothers suicide, she becomes a mother figure in the close relationship she has with her younger brother Joel Delany. However, Joel begins to a act very unusually: he tries to attack a man, has to be restrained to a mental asylum, and begins to loose his usual free-spirited kindness in exchange for a turbulent personality. After witnessing the acts of her brother and finally breaking down the shield of her affluence and naivety, Norah seeks the help of a spiritismo who will attempt to exorcise the spirit of a murderer they believe to be possessing Joel. But before they can attempt to help her, Norah's brother quickly turns on her, threatening her own life and the lives of her children.
Before The Exorcist showed up, there was this film about possession. However, this doesn't get even a quarter of the recognition The Exorcist gets and I think it should. I see no reason whatsoever this film shouldn't be on every horror fan's list of best films ever. It has all the elements necessary to make a good horror movie. To start with, it has a wonderful, well written story based on a book by Ramona Stewart. The film is very well paced. It is filled with suspense and atmosphere. There is a sense of dread from the moment the film starts. In fact, the sense of dread is so unrelenting, that right from the beginning you can tell something bad is going to happen. It's just a matter of time to wait. This film doesn't need blood and gore or loud jump scares, it actually has real terror. The characters are also very fascinating. The main character, Norah, seems to be a rich, uppity snob, she has an extreme amount of devotion to her family so you can't help but like her even if you don't want to. All of the acting is good, but the performance that stands out the most is David Elliott's. During the climax of the film, you feel sorry for his character as well as his sister. His performance is so convincing, that you actually believe he is being put under the abuse that Joel inflicts upon his character.
The most infamous scene of the film is near the ending. I won't give too much detail, but things happen in this film that no filmmaker would even attempt to do today. If you have seen the film, you already know exactly what I am referring to. If you haven't, you will have to see for yourself. While what happens near the ending is upsetting to almost everyone who watches it, I think that's the whole point. A good movie will make the viewer feel something, and this movie certainly does that. It is more than just a controversial horror film, though. It touches on important subject matter such as racism, cultural differences, and class distinction. Overall, this film doesn't get anywhere near the recognition it receives. It is an underrated, shocking, and brutal film. I will recommend it every chance I receive.
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