Communion (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

Communion (1989)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Adapted by Whitley Strieber from his book about his alleged contacts with aliens, Communion dramatizes a story all the more compelling for the author's insistence that it is true, complemented by Christopher Walken's enigmatic performance as Strieber. The film begins in October 1985, as Strieber is living in New York City with his wife Anne (Lindsay Crouse) and son Andrew (Joel Carlson). He is hunting for new book ideas without making much headway. He spends his days pacing around his apartment, thinking out loud or videotaping himself as he improvises bits of dialogue. It is soon decided that a vacation is in order, so, with their friends Alex (Andreas Katsulas) and Sara (Terri Hanauer), the Striebers head for their cabin in Upstate New York. In the middle of the night, an illumination descends on the cabin and surrounding forest, causing Strieber to wake up abruptly. In the semi-darkness of the cabin, he is able to make out a long face with narrow, tear-shaped eyes quietly observing him from a corner of the room. The next morning, he has forgotten -- or been made to forget -- the whole experience. He even shrugs off Alex's and Sarah's concern about "seeing lights" outside their bedroom window, claiming to have slept through the event. Back in New York, it becomes evident to Strieber and his family that something unusual did happen. He begins to have powerful hallucinations, and, after an inconclusive medical examination, he is encouraged by his wife to seek professional help from psychiatrist Janet Duffy (Frances Sternhagen). During hypnotic regression therapy, Strieber's lifelong contact with the "visitors" is brought to light, as well as the details of his more recent encounters. Still unable to accept these revelations, he returns to the cabin alone and finally communicates with the visitors, discovering that, although they are unable to reveal their true identity, their purpose may be to act as agents of personal transformation for himself and for others. An interesting and uneven film, Communion is bolstered considerably by Christopher Walken, whose role in the film, though appropriate for the subject matter, quickly transforms into a thesis on his own eccentricities as an actor.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Whitley Strieber
On DVD: Jun 20, 2000
New Line Cinema


Christopher Walken
as Whitley Strieber
Lindsay Crouse
as Anne Strieber
Joel Carlson
as Andrew Strieber
Frances Sternhagen
as Dr. Janet Duffy
Basil Hoffman
as Dr. Freidman
Dee Dee Rescher
as Mrs. Greenberg
Holly Fields
as Praying Mantis Girl
Paula Shaw
as Woman from Apartment
Juliet Sorcey
as Second-grade Girl
Kate Stern
as Woman on Bus
Johnny Dark
as Lab Technician
Sally Kemp
as Laurie
Paul Clemens
as Patrick
Andrew Magarian
as Man in Hallway
Madeleine Mora
as Baby Girl
Jonathan Fromdahl
as Five-year-old Whitle...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Communion

Critic Reviews for Communion

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Creepy and disturbing

October 17, 2003
Lawrence Journal-World can't make up its mind if it wants to be science fact, science fiction, or psycho-babble.

January 1, 2000
Movie Metropolis

October 20, 2005
Fantastica Daily

Audience Reviews for Communion


Communion is a bizarre and conflicted treat. I believe a number of those involved with the making of the film had differing ideas as to what the film was about and what was fact. Walken plays Whitley Strieber, a man that investigates his supposed encounters with aliens. Strieber reportedly told Walken he was playing the role "too crazy" to which Walken replied "If the shoe fits...". This sums up the difficult story being told here. The film never gives a clear answer on what the truth is, nor which characters believe what. It's more an examination of reality, imagination, truth, and all out mental psychological weirdness. It begins as a rather terrifying film. The aliens (fake looking) appear bit by bit, and their simplicity adds an artificial and uncomfortable atmosphere. It becomes apparent that the aliens are meant to look fake, as they are later used as a tool for identity and realism. We see other aliens wearing alien masks and the lack of realism lures us into a bizarre, comical and unsettling world. Communion is a confusing film, but if you are willing to let a film punch your brain you should seek it out. Comes with a haunting main theme by Eric Clapton.

Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer


I'm a Walken fan, but I could never make sense of this movie.

Jim Woehr

Super Reviewer



Leo L

Super Reviewer

Communion Quotes

– Submitted by Maurizio B (24 months ago)
– Submitted by In Your D (2 years ago)
– Submitted by In Your D (2 years ago)
– Submitted by In Your D (2 years ago)

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