Nightmare (1972)

aka Voices
Article 2681 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-30-2008
Posting Date: 12-15-2008
Directed by Kevin Billington
Featuring David Hemmings, Gayle Hunnicutt, Lynn Farleigh
Country: UK

A couple, traumatized by the death of their son when they left him by himself momentarily, spend the night in an abandoned house the woman has inherited. As they struggle with their demons, they begin to suspect that the house is haunted.

John Stanley rightly praises this obscure British movie for its twist ending, and well he should. Unfortunately, to get to that ending, you have to go through the rest of the movie, and therein lies the problem. It starts out well enough, but once the couple enters the house, it turns into one of those movies where two unlikable people flaunt their dysfunctional relationship (with yelling, accusations, manipulation, shaming, hysteria, etc., etc.,) in front of you for about an hour with hardly anyone else on hand to divert your attention from the ugly, depressing scene. Had there been a modicum of wit in the script (along the lines of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”, say), it might have been bearable. It also would have helped if the hauntings had somehow been indelibly tied to the characters and their situation, but, outside of the fact that the wife thinks one of the ghostly visions might be her dead son, it doesn’t. So, in the final analysis, I would have to say that the twist really wasn’t worth the unpleasantness of getting to it. Chalk it up as another one that would have made a for a good half hour segment on an anthology show rather than as a full-length movie.



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