Retro Review: AUDREY ROSE (1977)

How does The Exorcist inspired film fair in comparison? – Bleeding Dead

Ivy Templeton has an idealistic life as an only child with two parents who absolutely love her. Around Ivy’s eleventh Birthday though she is wrecked with violent night terrors that are causing emotional and physical damage to not only her but to her parents. The nightmares align when a stranger has been conspicuously watching Ivy after school and following her home. When Ivy’s parents confront the stranger about the stalking of their daughter the man, Elliot Hoover, reveals that his intentions with her are much more unique. Mr. Hoover believes that Ivy is the reincarnation of his daughter who passed away eleven years ago to the exact date and time of Ivy’s birth. All he simply wants is to watch her grow up and become part of her life. With Ivy’s father furious and skeptical of Mr. Hoover’s beliefs and her mother torn between her husband’s logic to her daughter’s worsening nightmares, she has to decide whether she trusts this man enough to let him save Ivy’s life.

The horror itself is in Ivy’s very intense episodes of living in Audrey Rose’s last moments and more so when her father settles her down. Rather chilling and a discomfort to the senses as your not sure how to feel about Hopkins character. Also a great aspect to the film is the father’s ability to never appear in a clear lens. Often I was convinced that he was insane and made it up as he went along. But the acting is so exceptional that its hard to doubt him. More on the horror though, a larger part of the fear in AUDREY ROSE is actually not that common of a fear, nor all that realistic depending on your stance of reincarnation. But it taps into the very basis of the fear which is the loss of a child and the hopelessness when a child becomes ill. However, that may be giving too much credit as the film’s plot structure is flimsy and plagued with bad dialogue.

Martha Mason is not at her best. She’s fine for some of the more emotional scenes but difficult lines pass her, with no intent on her part to make them believable. Anthony Hopkins is one of those actors I don’t need to elaborate on do I? He’s absolute in any role, but as the intelligent yet unsettling father to Audrey Rose is maybe the only thing that works in favor to the film. I don’t know where Susan Swift was the first hour and half of this movie, with her awkward performance, but the last twenty minutes? That bit of acting came out of nowhere and is quite intense in playing out Audrey’s final moments of life. The film looks alright, I didn’t notice any notary usages of cinematography and the direction is likely on par with the overall average look of the film.

AUDREY ROSE is however one of those films that runs a minute too long, as in the final narration on Mason part is dispensable and breaks some of the power from the previous scene. The ending will probably disappoint most in its lack of climax but I’d argue that it’s the strongest and best part of the film. There’s a lengthy build and it tires when it gets to the ‘court’ scenes but as I said what ends Audrey Rose is intense and haunting. It’s not past most that this film compares similar to The Exorcist, only have been released a few years after it, and is rather tame in comparison to the violent freak outs in that. I do think that as it’s not the greatest film it’s not horrible, Hopkins acting is more than enough to keep the plot active and the nightmares are deep enough to unsettle the viewer, some. If you don’t watch AUDREY ROSE your not missing anything but if you do I don’t think it’s the worse way to spend two hours, but honestly I’m sure there’s a better film you can find.

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