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In New York, Janice Templeton is happily married with the executive Bill Templeton and they live in a comfortable and fancy apartment with their eleven year-old daughter Ivy. One day, Janice is stalked by a weirdo and she tells her husband. Soon the stranger contacts them and invites the couple to meet him in a restaurant. Elliot Hoover tells to Janice and Bill that his daughter Audrey Rose died eleven years ago burned in a car crash and her soul would have reincarnated in Ivy's body. Bill and Janice believe that Elliot is nuts and Bill tells his lawyer to get a restraining order against Elliot. However, Ivy has dreadful nightmares and only Elliot is capable to calm her down. When Elliot abducts Ivy, Bill and Janice go to the court to arrest him. But Elliot wants to prove that Ivy and Audrey Rose are the same soul. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Robert Wise may have directed "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music." But he has done a fair share of horror films and thrillers, including "The Curse of the Cat People," "The Day The Earth Stood Still," but most notably, "The Haunting." However, hardly anybody seems to remember a 1977 film called "Audrey Rose." It is another film from the famed director that, in my eyes, is very memorable and atmospheric.
Janice and Bill Templeton are leading a very happy marriage with their daughter, Ivy. The last thing they want is a strange man by the name of Elliot Hoover stalking them. Worst of all, he sets his eye on Ivy. Soon enough, they are able to talk to Hoover. He explains that his wife and daughter, Audrey Rose, died in a horrible car accident, and that his daughter may have crossed over into Ivy. Of course, Janice and Bill dismiss Hoover as a lunatic. But that's when Ivy begins to exhibit strange behavior. Could Hoover be correct? Is Ivy really the reincarnation of Audrey Rose?
Now, when "Audrey Rose" first came out in 1977, it was subject to mixed reviews, mostly because it was seen as a horror film, and I can understand why. It was released a few years after "The Exorcist," when horror films were becoming more modern and faith was being challenged. But I don't see "Audrey Rose" as a horror film. Instead, I perceive it as a supernatural thriller with a touch of family drama. And it's a very good one.
Based on the novel by Frank De Felitta, creator of "The Entity" and director of "Dark Night of the Scarecrow," "Audrey Rose" is a nifty thriller for three reasons.
First, Robert Wise gives superb direction. He registers the exact amount of passion that he had for "The Haunting" and he has chosen an effective story that challenges the beliefs of the viewer. Do we choose to believe Hoover in that his daughter has come back in the form of Ivy? Or is Ivy simply an ill child in need of psychiatric help? It is a great story.
Second, the acting is quite good. Anthony Hopkins and John Beck give very nice performances as Hoover and Bill. The wide-eyed newcomer Susan Swift is especially believable in the scenes in which Ivy shows off the nightmarish behavior of Hoover's dead daughter. But I, and many other people who have seen the movie, feel that the greatest performance belongs to Marsha Mason, star of "The Goodbye Girl," as Janice. Once Audrey Rose takes over Ivy, Janice's fear of losing her daughter shows and Mason's acting intensifies as the movie goes on.
Third, the film has a tremendous atmosphere. The scenes of rain pattering on the windows as Ivy screams for her daddy are incredibly creepy, and so are the scenes at Ivy's school and inside the banal hospital.
There are plenty of movies about possession and bad seeds, but a reincarnation thriller is very uncommon. "Audrey Rose" may be a little long, but it is a super-effective supernatural thriller that is very creepy. It will leave you with questions, and raise ideas about reincarnation. Robert Wise has given us a thriller to remember.
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