Directed by Stuart Gordon [Other horror films: Re-Animator (1985), Dolls (1986), Daughter of Darkness (1990), The Pit and the Pendulum (1991), Castle Freak (1995), Dagon (2001)]
I have to admit that when I saw this film for the first time, it didn’t click. If you were to ask me what I didn’t like about it, I don’t know entirely if I would be able to give a great answer. The truth is I’m pretty sure I watched it on the same day I watch seven or eight other classic horror films, and this just got lost in the sauce, as Howie Hawkins (the presidential candidate I voted for in 2020) would often say.
So seeing it again was a nice surprise. I still can’t admit to loving it, because I don’t. I think the atmosphere is great, the main performances are solid, even the story is decently interesting (with elements of both Videodrome and a sprinkle of Prince of Darkness thrown in), but I lose interest in the last thirty minutes or so (once they leave the house and hit the mental institution). It’s not a bad direction, but I didn’t care much for it.
Of course, Jeffrey Combs (who I recently saw in The Attic Expeditions, and is most well-known for Re-Animator and voicing the Question in Justice League Unlimited) is a treat to see here, and there’s a decent amount of sympathy felt for his character despite not really knowing much about him. Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator and Chopping Mall) was attractive here, especially in her glasses. Ken Foree (who, in fact, I forgot was in this – I loved him in Dawn of the Dead) was a lot of fun too.
Even with the strong cast and amazing special effects, the atmosphere doesn’t carry over to the mental institution, at least in my view. It’s still a good movie, but I’m rating it around average, and can only hope that I eventually grow to enjoy it as much as many other seem to.