An obscure effort from the director of the infamous "Last House on Dead End Street", I expected more from "Shadows of the Mind" than what I wound up getting. As a child, Elise witnessed the drowning deaths of her father and stepmother. Racked with feelings of guilt, she's been institutionalized ever since. That is until Dr. Lang decides she's ready to return to the outside world. Hesitant and alone, Elise heads back to the old family estate. Before long, her estranged stepbrother stops by to visit and various murders begin to occur.
For the first 40 minutes or so, this is a mostly dull and repetitive affair. Elise wanders around the estate as the same lines of dialogue replay over and over and over in her mind. I'm a very patient individual, but this was a bit much. For a film with such a short running time, they sure padded it out. It doesn't help that Marion Joyce (who co-wrote the picture) is pretty annoying in the part of Elise. Fortunately, the proceedings are enlivened considerably by G.E. Barrymore's smarmy portrayal of Leland, the scheming stepbrother. When he arrives on scene, things finally pick up a little. Another plus is the gorgeous Bianca Sloane as Dr. Lang's fiancée, Diana.
The run down estate makes for a moody setting, and there's an effective scene of a body being discovered in an elevator shaft. However, the plot developments are as predictable as they come, including the twist that the film ends on. Combining that with a grating lead performance and the ridiculous amount of padding, "Shadows of the Mind" never comes off as anything above mediocrity. Worth a one time watch for curiosity's sake, but that's about it.
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