Altered States - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Altered States Reviews

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January 1, 2018
Altered States starts off well and the intense early visions are very reminiscent of classic Ridley Scott. This film falls apart in the latter half and its decline accelerates towards the end. The special effects were ground-breaking in the pre-CGI world of the late 70s. These don't hold up today.

The viewer wants this film to be good, but the plot and story are too silly to hold up. The special effects get worse. If Scott would have stuck with the quality of the protagonist's early visions, this film may have become a classic. Worth watching. Check the VHS bin of Wal-Mart for this one.
July 15, 2017
One of the great trip movies
July 7, 2017
This movie will mindf*ck you. Hard. Hands down one of the best sci-fi flicks I've ever seen.
½ May 10, 2017
Way to give things away, idiots!
April 26, 2017
What's not to like about this cool film
½ December 11, 2016
Great movie. Though the plot gets a little muddled by the end, the rest of the film is its saving grace, thanks to an intriguing yet simple premise featuring stunning visual effects and direction, a surreal soundtrack and fantastic performances from its cast, especially Hurt.
½ December 6, 2016
Its over-the-topness is pretty exhilarating, but the film is senseless in general.
November 24, 2016
Mostly this movie is brilliant, absolutely well-acted by William Hurt as a fanatical scientist trying to break into subconscious where he believes lies the answer to the purpose of the mankind. One can't not to notice some similarities between this film and the second version of The Fly (1986).
September 8, 2016
The acting is good and so is the atmosphere, but this film isn't 100% awesome. The ending needs work and the script is full of Paddy's isms, such as characters telling their backstories in broad detail dumps. The movie has some chilling moments but then soon ends on a whimper, but it was an interesting movie.
September 7, 2016
I finally picked up the Blu-ray of this one and gave it a revisit after I don't know how many years, and I must say that I enjoy it but perhaps my memories of it were better than the trippy reality? I mean, I'm not saying it's bad at all, but for whatever reason I was expecting to completely love it on the revisit and ended up merely liking it, and I honestly can't put a finger on exactly why.

Gorgeous and freaky visuals are the big selling point here, and I would say that might honestly be enough for the casual viewer, so I say give it a spin and see how much it expands your mind.
½ July 31, 2016
It's hard to believe this was William Hurt's first movie role. I guess it makes sense when I consider this was released in 1980. The 80s were William's decade. He was the "It" Guy. He starred in Body Heat, The Bill Chill, Gorky Park, Broadcast News, Children of a Lesser God...
I enjoyed seeing him in his prime surrounded by character actors. The movie, hum, it made me think of other shows and movies. I imagine it was groundbreaking then. Now, it seems a bit sentimental. Love conquers all, and all that.
Besides William, I enjoyed most the originality of this movie. It was - and I believe still is - unique.
June 3, 2016
Someone watched 2001
½ May 29, 2016
Um cientista faz experimentos para alcançar estados alterados de consciência através do isolamento sensorial. Ele acaba descobrindo que estes estados podem inclusive alterar a realidade. Uma bad trip interessante.
May 23, 2016
Watched this on 23/5/16
Despite some excessive religious crap, Altered States is a sound sci-fi film coming from the otherwise silly list of 80s Hollywood sci-fi. The visual techniques in the final demonstration are simply mind blowing. The film is well paced, tensed and the huminoid scenes are far better than what The Fly could offer.
½ May 1, 2016
Loud and disconcerting, Ken Russell's first and only attempt at the science fiction genre is one confusing hallucinatory mess that should go straight to the video store.
March 9, 2016
Dr. Edward "Eddie" Jessup (William Hurt) is a university professor of abnormal psychology who, while studying schizophrenia, begins to think that "our other states of consciousness are as real as our waking states." Jessup begins experimenting with sensory deprivation using a flotation tank, aided by two like-minded researchers, Mason Parrish (Charles Haid) and Arthur Rosenberg (Bob Balaban). At a faculty party he meets fellow "wonder kid" Emily (Blair Brown) and the two eventually marry. Seven years later, Eddie and Emily have two daughters and are on the brink of divorce. When Edward hears of a Mexican tribe that experiences shared illusion states, he travels to Mexico to participate in what is apparently an Ayahuasca Ceremony. During the walk into the bush his guide states that the indigenous tribe they are meeting works with Amanita muscaria which they are collecting for next year's ceremonies. An indigenous elder is seen with Banisteriopsis caapi root in his hand prior to cutting Jessup's hand, adding blood to the mixture he is preparing. Immediately after consumption Edward experiences bizarre, intense imagery. He returns to the U.S. with a tincture and begins taking it orally before each session in the flotation tank where he experiences a series of increasingly drastic psychological and physical transformations...

Ken Russell has always been known for movies out of the ordinary with added shock value, nudity and violence. By looking into the unexplored territory of the brain and how you can expand it with drugs and other means to have mental and physical experiences you simply can´t have otherwise is intriguing. I remember when "Altered States" came out, but I didn´t actually see it until last week, which is strange in many ways. The script was written by Paddy Chayefsky, based on his own novel which in return was partially based on the work of neuroscientist and dolphin researcher John Cunningham Lilly, who invented the isolation tank, and first started taking drugs while "tanking". Russell manages to create eerie and frightening vibes/visuals and with a superb William Hurt in the lead (his breakthrough role) the film has solid grounds. Yet, Russell ends up in some drug infused psycho babble that isn´t really coherent nor clear. The primal state of mind and Jessup´s sudden transformations makes you wonder what the hell is going on as Russell fails to deliver something that makes a bit more sense despite the fact that he is moving around in uncharted territories. I admit that there´s something interesting in "Altered States", but there´s too many things that needs more meat on the bones to satisfy me at least. Trivia: The film's box office failure and Ken Russell's onset behaviour, including a row with Paddy Chayefsky led to the director becoming a virtual pariah in Hollywood.
½ January 10, 2016
Entertaining to a fault, Hurt brings life to his character unbeknownst to what exactly he was going through.
January 7, 2016
I wanted to see a movie about psychedelic experiences, and I saw a science fiction stuff with a man turning into an ape. Quite disappointing.
October 8, 2015
Disturbing and technically impressive, Altered states is a largely compelling sci-fi horror that pulls you in with it's trippy visual style and evocative sound mixing.
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2015
Altered States is a fun watch. It is at times crazy, (unintentionally?) silly, melodramatic, and serious. William Hurt makes for an interesting mad scientist. Also, the film features some bits of the horror/grotesque movie magic characteristic of 80s films. Altered States is not a heavy film but it is a fun one.
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