Carla Moran awakens one night to find herself being beaten and raped by an unseen presence. Terrified of what's happening to her, and shunned by friends and family who think she's lost her mind, she seeks help from parapsychologists. The researchers soon discover that evil spiritual force has been drawn to Carla and is responsible for the violent attacks. The question now, however, is how do they stop it? Based on a supposedly true story. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The method in which Carla is diagnosed by physicians, a method which relies heavily on her personal history, and in particular her relationship with her father and her sexual encounters with other men, reflects a largely Freudian psychodynamic method of diagnosis. This, combined with the fact that she is initially diagnosed by the team of doctors as having "hysteria," a disorder that has disappeared from mainstream American psychiatric diagnostics, makes this movie one of the last in which Freudian methods and conceptions (largely related to sex and childhood development) are shown to have a significant impact on the diagnosis of patients. With the rise of neurochemistry, neuroscience, and biological tests in the 1980s, 1990s and beyond, Freudian methods like those portrayed in the film would themselves become considered by many mainstream biological psychiatrists to be superstitious. See more »
When Carla is first attacked by the demon, she is slapped rather hard in the face and her lip is bloodied. But in the subsequent scenes and the days following, there is no mark on her lip. See more »
Beautiful day outside, isn't it? Nothing like good old southern California for lots of sunshine!
I was raped.
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A busy single mother (Barbara Hershey) is inexplicably targeted by a monstrous, invisible 'entity' which emerges from nowhere and begins to assault her on a regular basis.
Based on events recounted in Frank DeFelitta's bestselling book, Sidney J. Furie's compelling shocker takes all the dramatic liberties one might expect of a Hollywood production, though DeFelitta's script manages to establish a genuine conflict between intractable science (spearheaded by Ron Silver as Hershey's disbelieving psychiatrist) and open-minded parapsychology (led by warm-hearted Jacqueline Brookes). Furie uses dutch angles and vivid closeups to emphasize the human tragedy at the heart of the story, as Hershey struggles to come to terms with her fantastical situation, only to be torn between Silver's increasingly ludicrous 'rationalizations' (he concludes that her experiences amount to little more than a sublimated incestuous crush on her handsome teenage son, played by David Labiosa!) and the day-to-day reality of her encounters with paranormal forces. Thankfully, despite suggestions of Silver's romantic attraction to Hershey, director and screenwriter keep a tight rein on proceedings, stripping all non-essential business from the central narrative.
Giving one of her best performances, Hershey is deeply affecting as the simple woman caught up in extraordinary circumstances beyond her control, and Furie stages the various supernatural assaults with frightening intensity, underlined by Charles Bernstein's pounding music score which elevates proceedings to a whole new level of horror. Despite the sexual nature of the attacks, Furie resists an urge to indulge the audience's voyeurism, and aside from one brief nude scene (employing a fairly obvious body double) and a full-body appliance (courtesy of Stan Winston) to depict invisible fingers manipulating Hershey's torso, the film is quite restrained in its portrayal of this sensitive material. The climactic visual effects - supervised by William Cruse - are remarkably poor, but this minor blemish isn't enough to weaken the film's cumulative impact. Listen out for the entity's only line of 'dialogue', as creepy as it is obscene.
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