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Are You in the House Alone?
(TV Movie 1978)
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Teenage girl is plagued by harassing phone calls. Her fear mounts when she's babysitting at a neighbor's home one evening and the caller rings her at that number. Written by
Dennis Lewis <email@example.com>
Doe-eyed high school student Kathleen Beller is found beaten andraped in the opening scenes of this made for TV movie. The filmthen flashbacks to the few days before the rape, as Beller isharassed by a stranger.Beller and Scott Colomby and her best friend Robin Mattson andDennis Quaid are double dating early on. Beller's anxious parents,laid back Tony Bill and shrill Blythe Danner, wait at home wringinghands and so on. Right away, the 1970's makes its datedentrance, as the young couples discuss the romance and love in"Three Days of the Condor."Beller, an amateur photographer, begins getting threatening notesstuffed in her locker at school. The film makers wisely give us awhole slew of suspects: Beller's new boyfriend, Mattson'sboyfriend, Beller's dad, Beller's ex-boyfriend, and what about thatoverly friendly photography class teacher who wants Beller to be alittle more sexy in her self-portraits? I knew who the rapist wasbecause the Worldvision Video company video box has a picture ofthe attack on the back cover, destroying any suspense in thatregard.Without giving away who the attacker is, Beller begins gettingharassing phone calls, and is eventually raped. The movie thenheads south as she makes like Nancy Drew and secretly sets upa time lapse camera to catch the guy stalking another student.Finally, the film makers tack on a hokey ending narration fromBeller about the lack of understanding for the victims of rape in thatday and age.The suspense here is very real, without going over the top intoscary movie stuff. Beller is very good, and watch for her andMattson's scene in an abandoned theater- both do great jobs. Thefilm is full of familiar faces, including Ellen Travolta in a small role,and everyone is professional.This was made in 1978, and it shows. I am sure no one had anyidea that this would be reviewed in 2001 by an overcritical horrormovie lover who needs to get to bed and be up early in themorning, but some of the attitudes here are embarassing. Theteacher who tells Beller to be sexy is never made to explain whatexactly he had in mind. Nowadays, if any high school teacher saidthat, then THAT would have been a made for TV movie on its own.After Beller is raped, the rapist is still a part of her life, as warrantsare issued, blah, blah, blah. There may not be a case becauseBeller is not a virgin, and cannot prove she was raped by whomshe said. Many of these problems have been addressed withmodern technology and policing efforts, but this film obviouslyknew it would have a chance to add to the reform debate. Rape isan act of violence that has not gone away, but efforts today to catchthe attackers are miles ahead of twenty four years ago. Theproblem is the anti-rape angle feels tacked on, like anafterthought. Before that, we have a tight little suspenser that hasreal honest to God characterization. After the rape, everythingchanges, filmwise, and not for the better.I remember Beller from the '70's and '80's (and who could forgether revealing role in "The Betsy"), but she has not done anything inalmost ten years. This is a shame, since she was very good wayback then.I will recommend "Are You in the House Alone?!" based on theacting alone, with a reluctant nod to at least the first two-thirds ofthe film. If you want to relive 1970's made for TV high school life,this is your cup of Tab.This is unrated but contains physical violence, some sexualviolence, and some adult situations.
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