A man and his wife find themselves stranded in a small western town. He discovers that a strange force has turned the residents into zombies, and runs into a beautiful woman who he believes is the key to the mystery.
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A wealthy former mental patient goes home to her estate to rest and recuperate. While walking the grounds one day she hears the screams of a woman coming from underneath the ground who has ... See full summary »
Olivia de Havilland,
While falling very much on the melodrama side of things as opposed to aiming for much in the way of overt shocks or scare tactics, She Waits holds together pretty well in its way, building pleasurably to a suitably fraught final block. The plot is simple, David (Ilya Kuryakin) McCallum takes his lovely new wife home to see his mother and work through some of his own issues, only for said mother to stir up the past and his wife's own neuroses into a foaming brew of the possibly supernatural. Actually for much of the time the film could simply be called something like The Menace of the Meddling Mother In-Law, as generally the point of whether or not something paranormal is going on is kept ambiguous, while the fact that the mother is doing no good is beyond question. Still, a quality turn from Dorothy McGuire keeps her character interesting if not beyond cliché, one gets the feeling of genuine fear and torment roiling away inside her, the feeling that she really is doing what she thinks best and exists in a sphere of isolation permitting no outside force to change her mind. It's a decent performance and she has great chemistry with Patty Duke as the beleaguered new wife Laura. Duke captures very well a sense of restless curiosity, steady mounting insecurity and eroding personality, malleable mind within fragile beauty. David McCallum on the other hand is very much a weak link, his acting borders on the somnambulant for most of the film, only developing a noticeable pulse and positive action in the final block, in which he does redeem himself somewhat. The scares are too thin on the ground and the details of the plot are left rather undeveloped, not that I mind having the nitty gritty left to the imagination but I definitely prefer to have a few more hints. Still, there are a few chills and the flowing camera-work gives a nicely foreboding atmosphere to the dark and daunting house in the the majority of the films action is set. Overall I'd say this is a worthy little diversion for fans of this sort of film, though it lacks much in the way of spectacle or thrills and isn't even all that tense, it keeps fairly compelling with its drama and is an admirably sincere and serious entry in a genre which was well on its way to collapsing into the swamps of camp long before this film was made. A fair 6/10 from me, though definitely a film for those already predisposed to enjoy it.
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