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The Appointment (1981)

| Horror
A family is confronted in their house by an evil force.




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Cast overview:
Samantha Weysom ...
John Judd ...
Alan Stewart ...
Man on Roadside
Auriol Goldingham ...
Pamela Rose ...


A British haunting/horror film that starts with a bang, but then settles into a slow-moving examination of one day in the life of British family -- a day full of tension and foreboding. Written by Mark Craft <terra@compusmart.ab.ca>

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User Reviews

Long forgotten, very slow, but sometimes incredible
3 July 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Finally, a film where the pay-off really is worth the build-up to the event. This is one of those "omen" style films, a movie which starts off slowly and gradually builds the tension, retaining it to the final, horrific, edge-of-your-seat climax which will take time to fade from your memory. It's that good. Completely forgotten these days, this is a minor gem of a film, which, without the aid of any fancy special effects trickery or violence, creates a vivid atmosphere of suspense and genuine fear.

For the most part this is just typical character-orientated drama, with a few mysterious events happening occasionally to keep the pace going. The opening is a real eye-opener, and has an evil force similar to the one in THE EVIL DEAD lurking in some bushes before pulling a young girl through the air (achieved very realistically via a dummy and some string) to her death. This is a really spooky, perhaps even frightening, scene, and you expect the rest of the film to follow suit. It doesn't. We are then introduced to Edward Woodward and his family, and the pace slips back down into neutral until the final half an hour.

Woodward is the kindly family man who finds himself being haunted by weird dreams involving dogs attacking his car while outside the house real-life dogs prowl around. Woodward, familiar to genre fans from his role in THE WICKER MAN, is pretty good here, playing a typically matter-of-fact guy who might well be your next door neighbour. He is supported well by a cast of unknowns. Well, actually there are only three other main characters in the cast - his wife, his daughter and his car mechanic, whose sole presence is to die a horrific THE OMEN-style death involving a car, in a show-stopping scene which is unlike anything I've ever seen before.

Samantha Weysom, who plays Woodward's daughter, has never been in anything else and is actually very good in her role. There are some really tense exchanges between the pair, and perhaps even hints of some incestuous desire lurking in there too: their scenes together are compelling and powerful, where much is left unsaid and you can almost feel the electricity in the air between them. Is Woodward's daughter a vengeance-seeking witch or innocent to the evil forces surrounding her? We never find out, and it's left up to our imagination - more effective that way.

The ending of this film is almost unbearable to watch, as you know what's coming, yet are unable to look away. Woodward undergoes the most arduous car journey in existence, travelling through some bleak-looking Welsh mountains where the isolated locations add to the spooky atmosphere. There then follows one of the most accurate, horrific car accidents I've ever seen put on film which has to be seen to be believed, it's a work of visual artistry. After this comes yet another nail-biting scene, which I won't spoil, except to say that the tension isn't relieved until the very end. This is the kind of film they don't make anymore, is completely gripping throughout, and well worth tracking down.

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