After a traumatic ordeal, acclaimed actress Emily Moore (Warren) and her psychiatrist husband, Robert (Baldwin), escape on a relaxing vacation to a gorgeous remote Mediterranean island. But... See full summary »
TV-movies from the 70's are generally fantastic. Whenever I spot the "archive collection" label, or recognize certain names of contemporary writers/directors, I immediately associate the film with intelligent and absorbing plots, atmospheric tension, genuine frights and devoted performances from often underrated but talented actors and actresses. There's something inexplicably magical about these movies and not coincidentally I regularly encounter user comments around here from fellow film freaks that remember and honor certain 70 TV-titles as movies that haunted their dreams ever since childhood. "The Stranger Within" is such a modest but highly efficient and memorable little gem from that era. Perhaps the film owes its existence solely to the tremendous success of "Rosemary's Baby", but it nevertheless it still stands as a solid independent thriller about a handful of touchy subjects like pregnancy issues, marriage and faithfulness. Painter Ann Collins is overjoyed and optimistic when she finds out she's pregnant, even though she had to process a severe trauma 3 years earlier and her loving husband David underwent a vasectomy as a result of it. He can't be the father, but Ann swears she wasn't unfaithful, so they decide to keep the baby. Ann's condition rapidly turns out to be a very unusual, abnormal and even dangerous pregnancy. She puts tons of salt on her food and slurps down gallons of steaming hot black coffee. Even more disturbing is that Ann constantly seeks for cold, sneaks out for long and mysterious nightly excursions and that her body miraculously heals itself from every type of illness. David and his friends desperately look for a medical explanation while Ann isolates herself and increasingly becomes influenced by the unborn baby whose origin remains an enigma. "The Stranger Within" benefices from a powerful first half, with a strong emphasis on marital defiance. The tense interactions between Ann and David after finding out he couldn't have conceived the child are honest and realistic. The second half is more Sci-Fi orientated, but the atmosphere nonetheless remains vulnerable and serene. The movie doesn't feature and bloody massacres or monstrous creatures, but it's definitely unsettling and grim. The basic story comes from the multi-talented veteran author Richard Matheson, so there aren't many better references in the horror industry. I hugely appreciated the climax and the (very) open ending and caught myself still gazing at the screen even long after the end credits were finished.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?