Dan Curtis, director of TV's Dark Shadows series, directed this eerie haunted-house thriller about a house which draws energy from its inhabitants and selects its own "keeper" from the family of Ben and Marian Rolf (Oliver Reed & Karen Black), who rent the strangely-affordable house one fateful summer then find themselves slowly succumbing to its creepy powers. The photography is suitably moody, and many of the standard haunted-house cliches are used to decent effect -- particularly a violent scene in which the surrounding woods form a barrier to prevent the family station wagon from escaping the area -- but the pace is too leisurely overall, climaxing with the type of grim ending employed by nearly every mainstream horror film in the late 70's. Black's spooky looks are used to maximum effect, but are never quite as chilling as the final shot of Curtis's TV movie Trilogy of Terror from the previous year. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi
Sort of anti-climatic. Interesting plot but it dragged in too many places. I enjoyed Bette Davis' performance even though she was only in about 10 minutes of the movie. I liked the atmosphere and the spooky house--just had something missing.
I mainly watched it to see Bette Davis. She was OK, but I could tell she delivered a lot of forced laughter. The rest of the story was slow and dull. I remember it when it came out. It wasn't that good even in the 70's. Maybe I missed something, but nothing was really explained as to why the events in the movie were happening. I think the house looked too nice to be creepy.
I agree with previous reviewers......first, Karen Black is scarey without trying!!! I can't believe she was in the movie The Great Gatsby with Robert Redford. Secondly, I too felt a little in the dark about the history of the house and why it had to have victims. Could the book The Shining have taken some influence from this movie too? This is a movie that I will only watch once. Susan L.