Symptoms (1974)

Article #1617 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-18-2005
Posting Date: 1-15-2006
Directed by Jose Ramon Larraz
Featuring Angela Pleasence, Mike Grady, Lorna Heilbron

A troubled woman invites a female friend to stay with her at a lonely, isolated country estate. However, mysterious noises and strange events begin to make the friend suspect that there is someone else in the estate as well.

This movie makes good use of sound, is quite creepy, and has a strong air of mystery to it. It’s a bit on the slow side, but as long as the mystery drives the story, it holds the attention. Unfortunately, a movie like this has to start delivering on some of the mystery, and sometimes the revelations aren’t quite as satisfying as the mystery itself, and such is the case here. In particular, I was disappointed by the revelations about the true intentions of the handyman, but pretty much all of the final revelations disappoint. It might have worked if Angela Pleasance had been able to make her character as compelling as Anthony Perkins’ in PSYCHO or Catherine Deneuve’s in REPULSION (two movies which this one will remind you of), but she never quite makes the character gel. In the end, the sheer simplicity and ordinariness of the characters’ motivations leaves me feeling slightly cheated, and I suspect that this is one movie that doesn’t lend itself to rewatching.


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