Haunts (The Veil) Reviews
HAUNTS / THE VEIL : Despite what the title might suggest (another ghost movie), HAUNTS from 1977 is a solid psychological horror film graced by the presence by Cameron Mitchell. Set in a small rural US town (which worked out well for the financial restrictions for the film's production) a young, religious woman called Ingrid starting for her safety with a serial Rapist & killer stalking several of the towns' women. When she is attacked in her backyard, bad things start to happen to her.
THOUGHTS: For a low budget 1970's horror film, it's an alright film. A good twist here and there makes this film enjoyable. Decent performances make the film tick along, however it sadly isn't very memorable. 60%
Starring: May Britt, Cameron Mitchell, and Aldo Ray
Director: Herb Free
A young woman (Britt) haunted by dark memories is stalked by a murdering rapist, or is she? The town sherifff (Aldo) thinks she's being hysterical... and just what is it her slovenly uncle (Mitchell) doing with his nights?
"Haunts" is a thriller that attempts to use a mentally unbalanced character to provide the narrative Point of View for the film. It's a clever and laudible idea, but it's not one that the director and writer (one and the same, at least with a co-writing credit on the script) were up to pulling off. The film is a bit too slow in unfolding, and what could have been a truly powerful ending (with some chilling realizations dawning on the part of the attentive viewers) is weakened by it likewise going on for a tad too long and by a last-minute attempt at throwing a possibility of something supernatural into a straight thriller. Once again, we have an ending that's ruined by filmmakers who just didn't know when to quit.
With some judicious editing, this film could actually be quite good, and it's one I wish I liked more. There's alot of misspent potential here, and all the three leads do such a good job that the void of talent embodied by some of the supporting cast is almost not noticable. (In fact, a scene in a bar featuring two of these talentless actors could be cut almost entirely, and the film would immediately get stronger in several ways--the mystery of the killer's ID would be heightened, and we'd have lost some of the more noxious flab dangling from the work's body.
Well the movie starts off with a murder (using scissors, no less) during the opening credits. Maybe there's hope for this film. A phone call later, The Sheriff (Aldo Ray) springs into action - well more like "waddles" into action.
This apparently takes place in a very small town since the whole town seems to leave the bowling alley to go to the murder site (they obviously don't have cable in Hicksburg).
Turn to a woman who is milking a goat and is remembering a night of passion in bed.
-- Folks, I couldn't make this up if I tried. --:rolleyes:
Of course, there are various suspects including the woman's Uncle Carl (Mitchell), the butcher, and the creepy "new man in town". At this point, I'd flesh out the plot a little more; but the damn movie moves so slowly. For example, we get to watch Aldo Ray eat a cookie and drink some milk while questioning the woman, Ingrid(played with actual gusto by May Britt). Oh joy.
As the movie progresses Ingrid suspects something is up ("Where are those scissors?") with Uncle Carl. At the same time, there seems to be alot of subplots that are flying around at once. I guess, it's supposed to be a 'complex, psychological thriller' but ends up as a 'muddled, psychotic mess'. The main plot point seems to be the 'secret' past of Ingrid, which we see in very brief flashes.
From a cinematic standpoint, the movie is made adequately; but what kills it is the slow pacing of the story and May Britt's performance is really the only decent one here. Poor Cameron is only seen in brief moments throughout the movie (I hope he got a decent paycheck out of this).
What really becomes frustrating though is that the movie suddenly shifts into high gear with only about 20 minutes left in the film. Twists and turns start flying around that make the movie border on compelling (and Hitchcock-level, at that). The final minutes actually make the movie nearly worthwhile - but only after destroying your patience in the first hour.
It's kinda like burning the name-brand microwave popcorn - the kernels are there but wasted.
On the Sex and Gore scoreboard - 0 on each. Look elsewhere.
[u]Fun rating[/u]: 5 (A mediocre suspense movie). Despite the fast and furious last 20 minutes, this movie as a whole is only slightly entertaining. If you have the patience to wade thru the first hour; suspense fans will actually enjoy this film.
[u]Interest rating[/u]: 5 (Okay if you're clicking thru channels and all you find is this and infomercials). Looking for a decent time killer - this is it. Other than that, you're better off watching one of your favorites again. Not much in the likes of repeat viewing potential, though a remake/rework could hold possibilities.
[b][i]Total rating: 5[/i][/b]