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Spellbinder
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Reviews & Ratings for
Spellbinder More at IMDbPro »

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17 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Terrific!

8/10
Author: gridoon
24 August 2000

An unjustly neglected horror entry. Right from the start, it has the narrative pull of a good mystery; there are intriguing characters and one genuinely sensual sex scene. In the second half, it seems to be getting more ordinary, but then comes up with a stunning twist, worthy of an Agatha Christie. Overall, a well-acted, atmospherically directed, smart, creepy little thriller. (***)

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Great plot twist at the end of the movie!

Author: jagripino from Sao Paulo, Brazil
12 September 1999

A cool terror movie, that will leave you on your toes on the final moments and make you astonished at the amazing plot twist at the end. Ok, it's not a movie I'd be looking for, but if you can catch it on tube it's pretty entertaining and will give you subject for a few good conversations on plot twists.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A truly scary story.

10/10
Author: mrjody from Scottsdale, AZ. USA
8 June 2001

Fatal Attraction was the scariest movie on my list until I saw Spellbinder, which is now one of my favorites to watch especial around Halloween. I liked it because I could put myself in his shoes, an average man becoming the hero. The girl being attractive is always a plus, and if you pay attention there is a lesson to learn.

Have fun.

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

I liked it.

8/10
Author: infocyde from United States
24 January 2007

Some of the commentators have ragged on this movie for it being predictable, and some parts of it are, but some parts of the ending really surprised me. Again, I saw this movie originally when I was about 19, so maybe what would be obvious now weren't so obvious to me back then. Anway, given the context of the late 80ies when Spellbinder was made there was all this talk about Satanism, most of which later proved to be just urban legend type of stuff, probably made the movie for me a little more spooky in the 80ies then say if someone just randomly saw it now. Anyways, the movie I thought had a pretty cool plot that had some surprises, the acting was good, Kelly Preston was hot, and the movie freaked me out a little back in the day, so I'm giving the movie 8 out 10 stars. I haven't found it on DVD yet, if I did I would buy it and add it to my collection.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Spellbindingly Brilliant!!

10/10
Author: barriedrees
2 November 2002

This film is truly one of the best "Supernatural" thrillers I have seen ( and I've seen quite a lot!!), including "Poltergeist", the "Entity",the "Fog" and "Carrie" to name but a few. "Spellbinder" is exactly what the title suggests, (SPELLBINDING!) and definitely deserves to share the same podium as the aforementioned films.

It is a supernatural "murder, mystery, suspense thriller" that truly lives up to the name of it's title with a completely unexpected twist that will leave you in disbelief.

It's an extremely well scripted and well acted story with both the lead actors: Kelly Preston (extemely beautiful) and Timothy Daly(charismatic), doing an excellent job and holding your attention through every nerve jangling and suspense filled second through to a climactic ending that will have you on the edge of your seat.

One of the best films of it's genre'. Excellent. One to watch with the lights on!!.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Some things are just more then what you bargain for… a whole lot more!

8/10
Author: lost-in-limbo from the Mad Hatter's tea party.
13 July 2006

Jeff Mills, is an Los Angeles lawyer who one night encounters a young woman who gets in a very heated argument with one very creepy man. But Jeff rescues her, and offers her a lift home, but she ends staying with him at his house and romantic bliss, blossoms between Miranda and Jeff. Although the man did warned him about crossing his path and he finds out the hard way, that there's a murderous cult who want Miranda back and they will do anything in doing so.

Where have you been hiding?! Now I didn't really know anything at all about this feature. The actual title simply caught my eye and I was up for something new, and the gamble definitely worked out for the best. I'm just really surprised that this gem of a occult thriller is very under-appreciated and got a somewhat below-average rating on here. Sure, the story's structure is far from original, but I couldn't help but be fascinated by this mysteriously, well-drawn up and tightly knitted premise. Tracy Torme's cracking story plays it's the audience like a yo-yo and we are kept intrigued by it's real dreariness, supernatural currents and sinister happenings. The way the stimulating script unravels just leaves you hanging there, until it reaches its very familiar, but unsettling climax that still packs a sting. But what happens after that, makes it even more cunningly cold and compelling. Director Janet Greek paints a slow-burn and highly atmospheric tone with a great touch of finesse and gripping suspense. Fluently lush cinematography and a swirlingly moody score really adds to the elegantly mysterious and damn right eerie outset. The acting is way above-average and how can you go pass the sensually luscious Kelly Preston, who is quite bewitching as the very enigmatic young woman, Miranda. Timothy Daly is convincingly likable as the yuppie lawyer Jeff. While, there are strong support roles by Rick Rossovich, Anthony Crivello, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and Diana Bellamy. It doesn't seem to be moving at a great pace, but with the constant surprises and unsteady developments within this satanic set-up, it really knows how to keep you alert to the possible hints.

A well-conceived, bleak thriller that has a certain, spellbinding appeal about it. Recommended.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

An excellent and underrated late 80's witchcraft horror sleeper

8/10
Author: Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
10 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of my all-time favorite late 80's horror mystery thriller sleepers, this nifty little flick plays like a modestly budgeted "Fatal Attraction" crossed with "Rosemary's Baby." Handsome nice guy Los Angeles lawyer Jeff Mills (appealingly essayed by Timothy Daly) saves the beautiful and enigmatic Miranda (a strikingly sexy and mesmerizing Kelly Preston) from a knife-wielding creep (the astonishingly ugly and unnerving Anthony Crivello) in a gymnasium parking lot. Jeff and Miranda immediately fall in love, finding happiness with each other. Unfortunately for them, Miranda turns out to be an honest-to-goodness witch who defected from a sinister coven that's keen on getting her back so she can be used as a sacrifice for the spring solstice.

Director Janet Greek wisely allows the story to initially unfold at a leisurely pace, firmly grounding said plot in a nicely delineated everyday world which makes the supernatural aspects of the story seem plausible and thus all the more effectively scary. The performances are uniformly excellent, with especially solid turns by Rick Rossovich (who got tossed through a wall by future California governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar in "The Terminator") as Jeff's best friend, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as a hard-nosed police detective, the always delightful Diana Bellamy as Jeff's motherly, concerned secretary, M.C. Gainey as a paranoid wacko survivalist loner, and veteran thespians Audra Lindley and Stefan Gierasch as elderly members of the creepy coven. Moreover, Basil Poledouris supplies a splendidly spooky'n'shuddery score, the suspense steadily mounts as the movie progresses towards its harrowing conclusion, the slick cinematography gives the picture a glitteringly smooth and polished visual sheen, and Tracy Torme's clever script comes complete with a genuinely jolting socko surprise climactic twist.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Excellent suspense thriller!

10/10
Author: Danny from Wayne NJ
20 November 2003

No, this is not an academy award winner but it will DEFINITELY keep you on the edge of your seat....... which is more than I can say for a LOT of "suspense thrillers". Yeah, it's even got some bad acting and some corny parts. Audra Lindley (Mrs. Roper - Three's company) did a great job. Check her out in the "Office" scene!

The ending, although somewhat predictable, is STILL major-league scary!

What makes this movie frightening, at least for me, anyway, is that cults like this really do exist!

If you're a horror movie buff, you owe it to yourself to check this one out when it comes to cable every so often! It's not on VHS or DVD. I'm hoping it's released sooner or later!

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Rewarding low-budget thriller

9/10
Author: Lunar_Eclipse_Scoping from Minnesota
29 March 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*May Be Spoilers*

This is a very well-done suspense/horror film that pays off in the end. Actually, for the first 40 minutes or so you might yawn a few times, the proceedings might seem a little uninteresting. I was thinking as I first watched it, "I mean, sure, Kelly Preston is cute and all, but there seems to be very little horror involved and what small amount of suspense there is is just hampered by being somewhat bland and poorly executed," and the scene I'm thinking about involves the fiery death of some poor bloke. This is the one scene in the film that probably would have been better if they had used a different, less-special-effects-oriented approach to it, which is exactly what "Spellbinder" manages to do most of the time. It's not an overtly gruesome or sensationalistic horror film; it keeps the horror on a mental level.

The midpoint was when the film started to slowly become interesting to me at first, and when parallels between certain plot points introduced earlier in the film are connected. All of a sudden we start getting some great, memorable moments, like Audra Lindley's radical way of turning negative attention towards Tim Daly from his coworkers; the scene where the entire cult of satanists are peering through the windows at Daly and Preston, pressing up against them and bending the glass; and of course the last 25 minutes, which is the best part. What I really loved about it was that it made me think back on the earlier part of the film and realize the whole film was good, it made me appreciate the subtle, slow buildup to the fantastic climax even more! I fortunately hadn't read any spoilers on here when I watched it so I really didn't even know there were any "twists" in the plot, and the film is smart not to overplay certain types of clues that other horror films make so obvious that it's insulting to the viewer, like the dinner party scene where Preston and the older woman don't get along, etc.



I recommend "Spellbinder" for those who want to try something refreshingly different in the late '80s horror genre, something that wisely neither plays all its cards in the first half-hour nor cuts them up and drenches them in gore.

My rating: 8.5/10

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Underrated cinematic masterpiece

10/10
Author: gbmediala from United States
4 August 2005

When director Janet Greek spoke of making this film (the original title was "The Witching Hour") she monotoned neither she nor the screenwriter, Tracy Torme had ever seen "The Wicker Man," the earlier version. I believe "Spellbinder" is an IMPROVEMENT on the original property, having set it in contemporary Los Angeles of 1988. The bad reviews resulted easily if one were to see the press notes given out. In the FIRST sentence of the FIRST paragraph, the publicist spoils the outcome. No wonder reviewers found it 'predictablel. Since "The Wicker Man" (which does have some very ironic consistencies to "Spellbinder")was given only art house releases in the United States, There are many audiences who will be enthralled with "Spellbinder" because to them, its' unique plot will seem new and fresh. It's a terrible waste to deprive those who love wild, sexy, erotic thrillers the experience of Timothy Daly, in his finest performance ever committed to film and Kelly Preston, on her last fling before marrying John Travolta. The casting, directing, cinematography and editing are SUPERB. It is one title I can't believe is still unavailable on DVD when so many clunkers are.

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