A REFLECTION OF FEAR (1973)
Article #1046 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-25-2004
Posting Date: 6-23-2004
Directed by William A. Fraker
Featuring Robert Shaw, Sally Kellerman, Sondra Locke
A long-departed father returns to the home of his wife to ask for a divorce, and to meet his severely disturbed daughter who talks to a doll named Aaron.
This movie was severely cut to receive a PG rating; it should have been left at an R rating. It’s not so much the missing footage that’s the problem; it’s simply that the air of perverse sexuality that pervades this film was something that couldn’t be pruned by the removal of mere footage, and was inappropriate for children with or without parental guidance. This is very much an adult horror movie.
The sexuality of the movie was also inherent to the story rather than added for exploitation reasons. Once you know the twist ending and then look back on the events from earlier in the movie, it all makes sense and the story falls together. The twist itself is one that is similar to several other horror movies, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it treated with quite as much seriousness and thoughtfulness as this movie does.
I was prepared to hate this movie after the first few minutes; the pretentious, artificial dialogue that fills up the opening scenes of the movie became very grating. It was only with the introduction of the characters played by Robert Shaw and Sally Kellerman that the movie finally steps outside the bizarre repressive atmosphere and looks at it for what it is; the movie ultimately does not ask us to live in this stifling and repressive world, but just to observe it. The repressiveness does add such a creepy atmosphere to the story that it is hard to shake; you remain on edge throughout the movie, curious about the truth but unnerved at the same time. It really doesn’t go for big shocks, and I’m sure some horror fans have little use for this movie. For me, the air of mystery, the creepy atmosphere, and a certain degree of intelligence to the story held my interest throughout. In short, the movie is satisfying, but disturbing, a little difficult and definitely not for the kids.