Someone Behind the Door (1971)

aka Quelqu’un derriere la porte

Article 3582 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-16-2011
Posting Date: 6-5-2011
Directed by Nicolas Gessner
Featuring Charles Bronson, Anthony Perkins, Jill Ireland
Country: France
What it is: Thriller

A neurosurgeon takes in an amnesiac patient with schizophrenic tendencies. However, the doctor has ulterior motives; he plans to implant artificial memories into the patient with the intent of getting him to murder the lover of the doctor’s philandering wife.

The opening scenes in the hospital really do a nice job of building up a good sense of tension, and it uses nothing more than clever editing and sound, and this is even before the story gets started. It’s a good thing, too; it buoys you through the deliberate setup of the plot that occupies the next hour or so of the movie. For the most part, the movie works fairly well, and when it finally swings into action, things don’t go quite as planned and you’ll really not be sure as to how this will all pan out. Unfortunately, the movie does strike a few false notes on occasion, and though some like the ending, I find it somewhat unsatisfying and even a little annoying, especially when it gets all arty during the closing credits. All three principals give interesting performances, but I give the edge to Charles Bronson, who is playing somewhat against type. Though not strictly a horror movie, we do have one insane killer in the mix, and I found it quite odd that he turns out to be the most sympathetic character in the movie. All in all, I found this one an interesting oddity.


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