Working with a limited budget and the content-expurgate restrictions placed on made-for-television fare, director Walter Grauman is still able to construct a frightening movie in Crowhaven Farm. He does it by simply letting the viewers imagination fill in the blanks. The strange noises in the forest, the blurred images of pilgrims torturing a mother-to-be off in a nearby clearing. What do they mean? Grauman shows the audience something, fleetingly, and then forces them to use their own imagination to fill in what is missing. That is where the true horror lies within Crowhaven Farm.
When the original inheritor dies in a strange car accident, a young couple, Maggie(Lange) and Ben(Burke) inherit a large farm and hundreds of acres of forest land. Dogged by marital problems the couple are determined to make a fresh start in the new setting. Maggie senses something odd early on and her first inclination is to leave but Ben talks her out of it. The inclination turns out to be correct as Maggie begins hearing strange noises and seeing odd visions of people dressed in Seventeenth-century garb. When a young girl(Eilbacher) drifts into their life things quickly move from bizarre to down right terrifying. Maggie soon discovers a parallel between her problem and a two-hundred year old coven of witches who may have committed sacrifices on the very farm land she inhabits.
Crowhaven Farm elicits some great performances from its cast. Hope Lange is especially great. She offers a performance very reminiscent of Mia Farrow's panicky turn in Rosemary's Baby, as the woman who discovers all is not what it may seem. Cindy Eilbacher, Paul Burke and TV-movie regular Loyd Bochner are also very good in their roles. I particularly enjoyed John Carradine as the handyman.
Crowhaven Farm has the distinction of being one of those made-for-television films that stay with you long after you've seen it. Like Duel and Dark Night Of The Scarecrow, Farm represents what can be achieved with a little budget and a whole lot of imagination. I highly recommend this film, if you can find it. As of yet, the film has never been released to video.