The Evictors (1979) Poster

(1979)

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Nostalgic film that truly scares
lflores906 October 2004
I remember seeing this movie back when we first got HBO in the early eighties as a kid. The movie had a PG rating, no gore, no masked men wielding a knife, and no big production qualities and yet still managed to scare the heck out of me. There was something about the brooding atmosphere and dark haunting score that did it for me. I also remember the film had some narration in it which made it even more creepy because it gave the film a more sinister fear of the unknown quality.

Like other psychological horror film classics such as Rosemary's Baby, The Others, and the Blair Witch Project(I'm sure some will disagree with me on that one)those films allowed the viewer to create the scariest horror of all, the horror that resides in our own heads.
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Eviction anxiety
Cujo10814 September 2011
In 1942, Ben and Ruth Watkins have just moved into an old Louisiana farmhouse. It's a beautiful place, but they soon learn of it's morbid past. Apparently, the previous few tenants all died in ways that raise suspicion. This doesn't sit well with Ruth, who stays at home alone most of the day while Ben is at work. As if she weren't spooked enough already, it isn't long before she finds herself menaced by a prowler who keeps showing up.

Charles B. Pierce, the man behind such southern-flavored gems as 'The Town that Dreaded Sundown' and 'The Legend of Boggy Creek', scored again with this outstanding mood piece. Atmosphere always was Pierce's strongest point, and 'The Evictors' features it in spades. The slow-burn pacing works brilliantly here, allowing the ominous tone to fester. The 1940's setting and impact of World War II on the financially struggling town are also well-realized, the former all the more so thanks to the lovely scope photography Pierce so expertly utilizes. Some effective sepia-toned flashbacks further the mood, as does the hushed nature of the townspeople in regard to the house's history.

Jessica Harper and Michael Parks play the married couple, and there is an obvious chemistry between them. It was great seeing the lovely Harper in a horror film other than 'Suspiria' for a change. Vic Morrow is on hand as the shady real estate agent who sales them the house and has eyes for Ruth. His role isn't the largest despite him getting top-billing, but it's an important one. Sue Ann Langdon also deserves mention as the crippled neighbor whom Ruth befriends.

The film offers up it's fair share of surprises as it heads toward the climax. There's one aspect of the story that was easily predictable, at least in my case, but others not so much. This is one of the true unsung gems of the 70's. The thought of it either not getting a release or being relegated to a shitty MOD DVD-R disgusts me to the core.
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If you like supposedly true story horror flix?
hlw2730 July 1999
Then, this is a good one for you. I actually liked it, and I originally saw it at the theater when I was a kid. There are some truly eerie characters and the plot is kinda spooky, so it's worthwhile. If you dig dusty, Southern related horror flix set in the backwoods, rent this baby....
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6/10
Nice and creepy
jangu13 March 2001
I saw this move when I was 15 yo and found it rather atmospheric and creepy. The backflashes to the murders of the past were nicely done too and the main characters in this flick behave in a manner that I at least found plausible. It's not a "no-holds-barred" terror movie or some "Friday the 13th"-clone, just a handsomely put together, semi-independent movie. However, the claim that this is a true story, is ridiculous and, considering the ending, not something even the filmmakers believe in.
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8/10
An entertaining suspense thriller
ersinkdotcom12 June 2013
"The Evictors" takes place in a rural Louisiana town in 1942 and is also based on a true story. A young couple from New Orleans move into their dream house in the woods of Louisiana. The home seems ideal for a wife to fix up while the husband is out working his new job. The previous owners are still attached to the house and will do anything they have to in order to get it back for themselves. The new owners begin to fear for their lives as a mysterious stranger stalks and violently threatens them.

I've found a new favorite director in Charles B. Pierce. He is the perfect example of a filmmaker who doesn't need to lean on graphic imagery and gore to get a viewer's blood pumping. He is a believer in the "less is more" school of thought and it works perfectly for him. Pierce slowly builds tension and then lets it explode on you at the last minute. You know something dreadful is coming but are still creeped out about it when it finally arrives.

Although "The Evictors" isn't a completely true story, all you have to do is a little investigating to know there's still quite a bit of validity in what happens on screen. I think that's what makes the film even more frightening. The thought that real people went through these ordeals in some form or another.

I also found it interesting that besides some bad language, "The Evictors" was rather clean for this type of movie. There wasn't any nudity to be seen. I was wondering why this was until I read that director Pierce was a Baptist.
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8/10
Chilling and suspenseful – one of Pierce's best
Nightman8514 June 2010
In 1942, a couple moves into an old farm house in Northern Louisiana only to discover all the previous tenants have met with sinister fates. But does this eerie history have anything to do with the ominous stranger that's now terrorizing the young wife?

Director Charles B. Pierce may be best known for his docu-chillers The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) and The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976), but The Evictors may just be the over-looked gem of his film career. Like his previous films The Evictors has a splendidly gritty, rural atmosphere that gives it a raw believability. This becomes all the more effective when the story builds to some strong tension as our heroine is stalked by a phantom prowler. There are also a number of flashbacks, shot in stylish black and white, that have a chilling creepiness.

The story is fairly well-written, as the plot takes a few unexpected and surprising turns. Its only real flaw is a final revelation that's a bit improbable. Pierce does well at creating a 40's era atmosphere, much like that of The Town That Dreaded Sundown. The camera work is nicely done and the music score solidly spooky. The biggest highlight here may come from star Jessica Harper's understated performance. Harper (best known as the heroine of Suspiria and Phantom of the Paradise) makes a truly convincing role here.

Over all, The Evictors is definitely a film worth checking out for horror fans, particularly those who are fans of Pierce or Harper. This is an underrated effort in need of a new audience.

*** out of ****
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7/10
Minor but enjoyable little thriller.
Hey_Sweden11 June 2013
Keep your expectations low and you might have some fun with this movie from director Charles B. Pierce, which, like his earlier "The Town That Dreaded Sundown", is a period thriller based on a true story. It doesn't add up to much when it's all over, but it's well made and has some good moments. It's really the cast that helps to maintain viewer interest as it plays out with a rather deliberate pace.

Michael Parks and the lovely Jessica Harper play Ben and Ruth Watkins, a couple who move into a house in a small Louisiana town in 1942. It seems, however, that realtor Jake Rudd (Vic Morrow) hasn't been forthcoming with them about some details. The house has a violent history: all people who previously tried to move into the house came to bad ends. And before long Ruth begins to be menaced by a glowering redneck who shows up, usually at night, with a big sharp knife.

Pierce gives this movie some semblance of style, especially the flashbacks - set in 1928, 1934, and 1939 - which are shot in a sepia tone. The scare scenes that occur really aren't that scary, but Harper is just so watchable that she makes up for any lack of suspense. She and Parks make for a very likable couple, and they're well supported by Morrow and the great Sue Ane Langdon as cheery neighbour Olie Gibson. Familiar character actors Dennis Fimple and Bill Thurman can be seen in small roles.

As in "The Town That Dreaded Sundown", the period recreation is nicely done, and the score by Jaime Mendoza-Nava adds a lot to the atmosphere.

Ultimately, there's really nothing here that's surprising, but "The Evictors" is still passably engrossing, and it does offer up a fairly interesting ending.

One of the final few films for the legendary American International Pictures.

Seven out of 10.
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6/10
Beautifully made but slow going
Maciste_Brother6 June 2007
As horror films go, THE EVICTORS is slightly above the usual stuff that was released back then. The acting and production values are good. The cinematography is gorgeous. The Vestron VHS tape I watched had the film in an uncompressed anamorphic transfer. Everything looked squished but my TV has a 16x9 option and when I activated it, the VHS image was widescreen and beautiful. I loved the sepia toned scenes (they are flashbacks). They give the film a distinctive quality. The film's biggest weakness is the story. It sorta comes into its own by the end of the film but even so it's still pretty weak.

The story is about a couple who are terrorized by a mysterious man who lurks around a house they recently moved in, a house with a long history of suspicious violent deaths. The wife (played by the wonderful Jessica Harper) is repeatedly terrorized by the lurker when the husband is away. This storyline works on a certain level but the character who plays the lurker/murderer is no Michael or Jason. That aspect of the story was severely underwritten and when the revelation of who this lurker is and why he's terrorizing the couple, what gloomy & mysterious atmosphere the film so meticulously created vanished in a blink of an eye. But the revelation is not bad enough to destroy the whole film. It's just too corny, too a la Scooby Doo.

The other annoying thing about this film is the pacing. It's a tad slow going. The action eventually picks up in the second half but the first half was very casual.

Even with all its faults, I still enjoyed THE EVICTORS. It's a gorgeous looking horror film and there's Jessica Harper, which always makes anything worth watching.
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6/10
Spooky and Fun Backwoods Terror
tla.baio17 March 2000
The Evictors, like Charles B. Pierce's other efforts (The Legend of Boggy Creek and The Town That Dreaded Sundown) is a spooky story based on actual events. This story centers around a house with a violent past. That past, however, does not stay dead. Instead it comes back to terrify any new occupants seeking to live in that same house. There are fine performances, some truly spooky scenes, and several twists towards its conclusion to keep the viewer entertained. Fans of this film should definitely seek out Pierce's other titles mentioned above. Happy Hunting!
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7/10
Greatly underrated psychological horror film
Milo-Jeeder2 April 2015
Although "The Evictors" could be considered as a little bit too soft to fit into the horror category, I acknowledge it as a very effective and overlooked psychological horror film. I think it is a character-driven film, in which past events acquire a lot of relevance to build the atmosphere.

In "The Evictors", the story takes place around the year 1942. A woman named Ruth Watkins and her husband Ben, move into a cozy house in Louisiana, in what seems to be an isolated village. Ruth feels very lonely, since her husband is away most of the time and the other women from town don't seem very friendly towards her, except for Ollie Gibson, an elderly woman in a wheelchair, who also happens to be the only neighbor in the area. One day, Ollie invites Ruth to her house for a pleasant evening with some coffee and cake. Well, the pleasant evening stops being so pleasant when Ollie reveals to Ruth that, before she and her husband moved into their home, there was a gruesome murder in it. Ruth becomes rather shocked by this and she's even more shocked when she finds out that between the 1920s and the 1930s, there was another series of murders, which were allegedly very brutal.

Horrified by the events that took place in her house, Ruth begins to suspect that the person who committed all those murders is still around and he is out to get her. To make things worse, her husband is hardly ever home and Ruth doesn't have anyone to help her, except for Ollie Gibson, who clearly isn't much of a protection anyway.

The story is simple, but it's filled with well developed intrigue. "The Evictors" is an unpretentious psychological horror film that mostly features Ruth's descent into a transitory state of paranoia and fear, which threatens to ruin her traditional, happy life. Ruth is a defenseless woman, who suddenly needs to rise up and face an outside force that threatens her very own life. Of course, before rising up, Ruth tries to get her husband to fight for her, but when she realizes that he is unavailable to do so, she comes around and ends up doing all the dirty work by herself. Let's keep in mind that this story takes place in the 1940s, a time where women weren't expected to fight back and it was unimaginable that a frail and delicate lady like Ruth would match a big, strong man in a confrontation. The fact that this film takes place in the 1940s serves the purpose of giving us a lead girl facing severe challenges, since during those days, women were only allowed to say and do so much. If anything, "nice women" were expected to stay home, be good to their husbands, cook for them and, of course, make babies. Well, in this case, Ruth seems pretty comfortable with this arrangement, when she is suddenly pushed out of her comfort zone and is forced to step up and fight. I think this is interesting, because we get to see how our lead girl is forced to drastically change from damsel in distress to warrior, throughout the course of film. Towards the end, we get to see an unexpected and far-fetched twist that evidences Ruth's repressed desires, which in this case is romantic lust towards another man. This gives us another reason to believe that Ruth has changed and she is no longer that fragile and subservient woman that we see at first. My main problem with the ending is that it goes out of its way to give us a surprise, when it is rather unnecessary and it comes off as an attempt to shock the audience just for the hell of it and it's not even all that shocking either. "The Evictors" uses the perfect setting, which is a big dark house, located in the middle of nowhere, where the pretty and delicate housewife spends her the time.

This film features no gore whatsoever. The PG rating is a clear indicator that "The Evictors" is free from gore or nudity and it manages to stay on the "innocent" side, while providing a bunch of on-screen murders. The lack of gore and gruesomeness can be a let down to certain horror lovers, but the movie makes up for this with well created suspense and great tension. One thing that bothers me about "The Evictors" is that for moments, it is seems that Charles B. Pierce went out of his way to fill an hour and thirty minutes with never ending sequences that help to build tension, but that could have easily have been shorter and just as effective. All in all, a very enjoyable low-key horror film, done with a lot of simplicity. It can be highly enjoyed if one isn't expecting brutality of any kind or in-your-face horror elements, such as: visible supernatural elements, a profuse body count, beast-like creatures or exaggerated horror music.
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6/10
A small thriller
JasparLamarCrabb9 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A small thriller set in the 1940s courtesy of Charles B. Pierce. Jessica Harper & Michael Parks move into a house that turns out to have a very sordid past. Murders, suicides, etc. have occurred and there's more to come. Not the scariest of films, there is plenty of suspense and Pierce is not slow to get things going. Harper & Parks make an odd pair, both are so quirky it's hard to take them seriously as young marrieds. Sue Ane Langdon is a "kindly" neighbor and Vic Morrow is a real estate broker (buy NOTHING from him). The art direction and costumes capture the feel for rural Louisiana circa 1945 and the music by Jaime Mendoza-Nava is very unsettling. A mostly effective shocker.
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6/10
An Unusual Picture from American International
gavin694218 October 2012
A young couple -- just married -- rents a house in a village in Louisiana. But they are not welcome; the inhabitants of the village look at them with distrust -- in the house they rented were happening strange things in the past...

So, I was drawn to this because it had a young Michael Parks and the legendary Jessica Harper ("Suspiria"). I was hoping that Sam Arkoff would have more of a role than "presenting", but oh well.

I guess my biggest issue is that this is not much of a horror film. Both Netflix and IMDb say it is, and I agree... but the horror is subtle for most of the film and could easily have been left out entirely. Sure, we have a guy who gets an ax in his back... but otherwise, not too much.

I still liked the movie, but I wish more had been going on. This will not go on record as one of the stronger films in either Parks' or Harper's careers.
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6/10
Decent Pierce Film
utgard1420 December 2013
The Evictors is another in a string of low-budget but memorable films made by producer/director Charles B. Pierce during the 1970s. The best of these were, of course, The Legend of Boggy Creek and The Town That Dreaded Sundown. The rest of Pierce's oeuvre is spotty but almost all of his movies show signs of his talent for coming up with interesting film ideas and executing them with a fair amount of creativity.

This film is a mixed bag. The plot is that in 1942 a couple (Michael Parks, Jessica Harper) rent a house in southern Louisiana, where they are subjected to a series of strange occurrences and attacks. Then they find out the house has a history of violent happenings with previous inhabitants.

The setting and premise are right in Pierce's wheelhouse. He directs with his usual flair for creating atmosphere and setting up some nice tension throughout. The flashbacks are particularly well-done with nice attention to detail from the periods involved. However, some slow spots drag the film a bit and the ending is a let-down. Still, there's enough of interest here to warrant you checking it out. Good direction, nice music, and the biggest "name" cast Charles Pierce ever had. In addition to Parks and Harper, there's Sue Ane Langdon and Vic Morrow.
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8/10
Nifty backwoods horror outing
Woodyanders30 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Ben Watkins (a solid and likable performance by Michael Parks) and his wife Ruth (winningly played by the lovely Jessica Harper) move into a creepy old house in a small Louisiana town. They find out that said abode has a violent history attached to it. Director Charles B. Pierce, who also co-wrote the engrossing script with Garry Rusoff and Paul Fisk, relates the compelling story at a steady pace, presents a flavorsome evocation of the 1940's period setting, offers a strong feeling of the rural region and its people, builds a good deal of tension, stages the shock set pieces with aplomb, grounds the plot in a believably sleepy everyday rustic milieu, and delivers a couple of neat surprise twists at the end. The sound acting by the capable cast keeps this picture humming: Parks and Harper make for appealing leads, with fine support from Vic Morrow as friendly, yet shifty real estate agent Jake Rudd and Sue Ane Langdon as pleasant and chipper crippled neighbor Olie Gibson. Familiar character actors Bill Thurman, Dennis Fimple, and Jimmy Clem pop up in cool minor roles. Chuck Bryant's handsome widescreen cinematography boasts lots of gorgeous sepia-tinged black and white for the flashback scenes. Jamie Mendoza-Nava's spirited shivery score hits the stirring shuddery spot. Worthwhile fright fare.
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9/10
"The Evictors" is as brilliant as it is obscure ... = VERY!
Coventry10 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I'm a big fan of Charles B. Pierce's movies and particularly admire the efforts he did in the field of horror. His movies are extremely low-budgeted, always incredibly hard to come across on VHS or DVD-R and they seemingly always appear to be inspired by true events, no matter how unlikely they may sound. "Legend of Boggy Creek" was a moody documentary-styled film revolving on the contemporary popular Sasquatch legend, the close-to-brilliant "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" was a predecessor to the modern teen-slashers as well as one of the rawest rural horror films ever made and then this "The Evictors", perhaps the most obscure movie of the entire bunch, is an impressively tense and slow-brooding 'haunted-house' type of chiller with a twist. Needless to say this film doesn't feature any outrageous gore, spectacular stunts or exploitative sleaze. Instead of all that, "The Evictors" purely thrives on a continuously ominous atmosphere, devoted performances and a few intelligently scripted surprise-twists when approaching the denouement. The largest part of the story takes place in a secluded little Louisianan town during the early 1940's. Pierce masterfully recreates the grim and almost depressing atmosphere of that era with exact period details (like vehicles, costumes, religious matters and the noticeable impact of WWII going on in Europe) and a rather uncanny yellow-tinted cinematography. The story opens in the year 1928, with the rather harsh eviction of a family from their farmhouse by heavily armed police officers and a relentless real estate agent. Nearly 15 years later the amiable young couple Ben & Ruth Watkins move in. During the long days when Ben is working at the factory, Ruth makes her acquaintance with the neighbors and learns that everyone who lived in the house during the 30's also died there under mysterious circumstances. The stories of the previous tenants are illustrated through extended flashbacks that easily form the suspenseful highlights of the movie (along with the gripping climax, of course). Ruth becomes increasingly terrified of living in the house and then one night she encounters a tall, dark and sinister man atop the stairs… "The Evictors" is incredibly slow-paced (and probably not intended for younger, nowadays horror audiences) but very, VERY rewarding if you like ambiance-driven 70's horror. The murders are tamely depicted but they're surely brutal in tone and, even though you sort of can predict the final twist, it still comes across as mildly shocking when it gets revealed. Vic Morrow receives top billing for his role as sly estate agent, but it's really Jessica Harper and Michael Parks that deserve the most praise. Horror freaks will always remember and worship the stunningly beautiful and cherubic Mrs. Harper for her role in Dario Argento's genre milestone "Suspiria" and Michael Parks is nowadays mostly known for his returning role of Texas Ranger Earl McGraw in the films of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. The two form a charming on screen couple and they get some excellent supportive feedback from Sue Ann Langdon (as the wheelchair-bound neighbor), Dennis Fimple and Bill Thurman. This is a terrific film that could perhaps be described as a forerunner of films like "The Others" and "The Messengers", only with the irreplaceable fiendish ambiance of 70's exploitation/drive-in cinema. Highly recommended!
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6/10
Worth seeing for the tremendous 1940s atmosphere ............
merklekranz18 September 2012
"The Evictors" oozes with tremendous 1940s atmosphere. I would say however that the film being based on a true story, as the opening claims, is highly unlikely. The acting by innocent home buyers (Michael Parks & Jessice Harper) is totally acceptable, while Vic Morrow turns in a suitable performance as a sleazy Realtor. Many of the authentic looking Louisiana locals, could actually be authentic Louisiana locals playing themselves. This greatly enhances authenticity, along with at least a bunch of terrific 1940s automobiles. Though the film is strong on atmosphere, the script leaves several annoying questions dangling uncomfortably. - MERK
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8/10
Creepy and memorable.
HumanoidOfFlesh15 April 2010
1942.Ben and Ruth Watkins rent a house in Southern Louisiana.Soon Ruth is subject to a series of terrifying attacks while she is alone.They discover that the attacks have something to do with the house's past and that the rental agency did not tell them that all previous inhabitants have died under violent and mysterious circumstances."The Evictors" was made by Charles B.Pierce of "The Legend of Boggy Creek" and "The Town that Dreaded Sundown" fame.Like those two it is supposedly based on facts.The atmosphere is very eerie during the flashbacks and the acting is excellent.It's great to see Jessica Harper aka Suzy Bannion from masterful "Suspiria" in the main role.8 out of 10.
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8/10
Not to be confused with the 1963 WWII classic "The Victors".
kapelusznik1818 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
****SPOILERS**** The movie starts back in 1928 with an eviction notice for the Monroes who've been behind in not paying their state & property taxes for the last five years. Refusing to go quietly and join the legions of homeless people in and around Shreveport La. The Monroes decide to fight it out with the evictors made up of mostly state police and end up getting blasted by them in return.

It's now 1942 and this young married couple the Watkins Ben & Ruth,Michael Parks & Jessica Parker, move into the former Monroe house not realizing what's waiting for them there! It was the real-estate agent Jake Rudd, Vic Morrow, who sold the house to the Watkins who kept from them not only the deaths of the Monroes but a number of other strange and unexplained death that occurred there over the last 14 years to people that lived, and later died violently, there.

Predictably strange things started to happen to the Watkins that included this tall and creepy looking farmhand who showed up at all hours in the day and night to terrorized the couple. He even went so far as murdering with a ax in his back to kind and elderly junk-man who just happened to show up to sell Ruth some of the trinkets he found rummaging through the neighborhood garbage dump! It's the Watkins's next door neighbor the wheelchair bound and widowed Olie Gibson, Sue Ane Langdon, who goes out of her way to make both Ben & Ruth to feel at home in the neighborhood. But you soon notice that their something that Olie's is keeping from them as well as we in the audience that explains the terror what the Watkins are going through! And it all has to do with the shootout back in 1928 with the state police that left the Monroes dead and buried.

***SPOILERS*** "The Evictors" has already after some 35 years reached cult statues with the movie considered among the best of the slew of 1970's horror movies in it concentrating more on story not on special effects as well as blood & gore which is mostly absent in it. The shocking ending that leads to an even more shocking double ending, when you thought the movie was finally over, makes what at that time was a better then average horror movie to an all time classic one!
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One of the last A.I.P. pics is not one of the best
Wizard-811 August 2003
I sincerely doubt this is based on true events, as the opening statement makes. I figure it was just a ploy to give the movie a creepy aura, like the rural flicks MACON COUNTY LINE and LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (curiously, also A.I.P. flicks) used. But that's not important, of course; only the movie itself is. Unfortunately, the movie itself is kind of a drag. It doesn't take long to realize that *nothing* is really happening, and not too much is going to happen when the movie gets close to the end. The period detail is respectable, and the movie does offer some sepia-colored flashbacks that do have a creepiness to them. The best of them happens to be the one at the beginning of the movie, making it easy to watch the best part of the movie when it comes on TV, then quickly change the channel once that opening has ended.
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6/10
"I Want You to Move." BTW-Major Spoilers Ahead!
BaronBl00d23 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
A great opening shot of a bank clerk and several deputies going to serve repossession papers to a house full of, well, how shall we put this...old-fashioned Southern undesirables, sets the mood for this often atmospheric, often slow-moving, often tense, generally well-acted, and shoddily at times scripted film(the ending just does not make any sense to me!). If I look at the film minus the last 15 minutes - it really is pretty scary. A couple, played very nicely by lovely Jessica Harper and amiable Michael Parks, move into an old country house somewhere in Louisiana. They soon discover that the house has a history of death. The opening scene happened in 1928, but we then see flashbacks of 1934 and 1939 where two different sets of couples were killed by the same man that is now canvasing their home. Well, a peddler chopping wood is killed and other strange things like lights being turned off, creaking stairs, etc...happen. I had my suspicions who might be involved, and was not wrong, but was not right as the final conclusion draws and is as unbelievable and ridiculous as can be. Why were they living in another house? Where did they get money from to live? What was the Realtor's part? Why did he kill his friend/relation? What happened to the body of the peddler? Does the house make people go mad? Why was Ruth with Rudd at the end? None of it made much sense to me, which really is a shame as it destroyed much of the creepy atmosphere up to that point. The acting is decent. The couple, as I have already pointed out, were quite good. Vic Morrow plays another creepy guy. Did Morrow ever play a likable character? I don't recall that ever happening. Sue Ann Langdon really is quite good in her role.. She convinced me at the beginning. Director Charles Pierce does do a very good job creating suspense, atmosphere, mood, etc... The figure of the man with the creepy hat was very effective. The set pieces, seeing that it was happening in 1942, were all believable. The film print I saw on Netflix was very bright and clear. This is not a bad film, but, for me at least, the ending drops this a couple points.
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8/10
Period tale of domestic horrors
drownnnsoda13 November 2017
Charles B. Pierce directed several films in the 1970s, two of which were potent mixtures of crime and horror. The first was the overly-clinical, coldly effective "The Town that Dreaded Sundown," based on a string of real-life murders in mid-century Texas; the second was "The Evictors," which follows a young couple in 1942 Louisiana who move into a rustic farmhouse in the woods. Little do they know, the house has a dark past as the site of numerous unsolved murders. Before long, the wife finds herself being continually stalked by a man prowling on the property and threatening her life.

As a thriller, "The Evictors" works quite well—it has intrigue, mystery, and a truly effective twist-ending. What shocked me in watching it however was how much it functions as a horror film, in some ways even more so than Pierce's "The Town that Dreaded Sundown." The film is anchored at the rustic farmhouse, which leaves poor Jessica Harper at her own wits, a candlestick telephone her only lifeline. Since the bulk of the film is centered around her and the time she spends alone at the house, there is considerable opportunity for thrills and suspense that Pierce cashes in on. There are some phenomenal sequences in which she is confronted by the ominous stranger (played by Vic Morrow). One encounter occurs late at night in a window, and is possibly one of the most effective "jump" scares I've seen. A second masterful scene has her looking up while using the phone in the foyer; the camera shifts to her point of view, and the audience watches as the edge of the villain's hat creeps around he corner at the top of the dimly-lit staircase.

It's these simple domestic terrors that have been the fodder of numerous horror films well into the twenty-first century—one needs to look no further than "The Strangers," "High Tension," or even "The Purge" to see that these scenarios still scare us. Home invasions are perhaps some of the scariest kinds of encounters with evil because they occur in our own sacred space, outside the realm of public life; we expect to be safe there, and the illusion of four walls can trick us into forgetting that this isn't necessarily the case. Pierce realizes this, and presses all the keys in placing his thrills. There are a handful of sepia-toned flashback sequences detailing past murders in the home that are likewise effective and predate Fulci's "The Beyond."

Atmospherically, the film is sublimely Southern Gothic, very colorful, and the period setting is nicely done. The B-movie budgetary limitations do show a bit, but they weirdly melt into the tapestry of the era. A hazy and at times piercing score punctuates the film's more intense moments. One pitfall is that there is some rather choppy editing throughout, which does distract at times. Harper is very likable in her role despite some instances of hammy acting, and Vic Morrow turns in an unexpectedly chilling performance. The final reveal is less obvious than it should be, and the penultimate scene riffs on a moment reminiscent of "Psycho."

In the end, I was colored surprised by how much I enjoyed "The Evictors." As a low-budget thriller, it is nicely photographed and offers some finely-tuned moments of legitimate horror that is unexpected and familiar. Ultimately, it is a B-movie, and thus has some of the limitations that come along with that—but then again, the material itself doesn't necessitate much of a budget anyway. I was no less taken aback by how astutely Pierce is able to play on universal fears; there are moments in this film that are still chilling over forty years later. 8/10.
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Old House Psychological Thriller
savanna-212 April 2017
This turned out to be a slow paced, tension filled thriller, in the old timey meaning.

Feeling of menace, oppression and deliberate pacing. Filming location adds much to the film. You get that old south, small town, outsiders need not apply feeling. The smiles and welcomes are all fake.

Plus the old cars. If you're a fan of cars from the later 20s to early 40s there here aplenty.

The acting is good. I would say this was probably made for TV and if it wasn't, it was just a couple of years shy of bring TV fare. In some ways it reminded me of the 1970 Bloody Mama about Ma Barker and her gangs crime spree (with a young Robert De Niro.

Flashbacks aplenty to show the history of the house and what happens to the occupants over the years.

I would recommend it except for the most faint of heart. Also, there is one scene that some may feel triggered by.
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6/10
Good Acting, Unique Thriller, Poor Ending
beorhhouse14 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This one ends poorly, but up until the evictors are revealed not to be ghosts but still-living people, the film rolled along nicely. Good Southern Gothic tale with directorial mistakes as unsightly as shot-out farmhouse windows--which ruin what could have otherwise been a great 70s Horror flick like Burnt Offerings. Jessica Harper, probably most famous for playing the American dancer in the Italian giallo Horror masterpiece SUSPERIA, is the salvation of this film with her big scared eyes and petite, pretty frame.
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6/10
Not Bad Suspense Yarn.
AaronCapenBanner2 September 2013
Charles B. Pierce directs this spooky yarn about a young newlywed couple(Michael Parks & Jessica Harper) who rent an old house from a helpful real estate agent(Vic Morrow) in Louisiana reputed to be haunted(there was a police shootout there that opens the film). Couple discovers strange things going on, and after a mysterious disappearance, seek the help of some friendly neighbors and the real estate agent, only to find the truth to be more complicated and sinister than they realized...

Reasonably suspenseful film isn't particularly original, but does create an eerie atmosphere around the old house, and final revelation is surprising, if a bit disappointing, though still works modestly well.

Released on DVD as a double-feature with "The Town That Dreaded Sundown".
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3/10
Boring cheapie.
gridoon10 January 2001
Cheaply made, plodding horror film that should have been much better considering it's based (incredibly) on a true story. Justifiably forgotten today, this only has a couple of effective moments. The scenes that are set in the past are filmed in an awful, yellow-tinted black-and-white that makes the film look even cheaper than it actually is. Jessica Harper deserves better. (*1/2)
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