SOMETHING EVIL (1972)
Article 4016 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Featuring Sandy Dennis, Darren McGavin, Ralph Bellamy
What it is: House with a malignant force
A couple buys and moves into a country farmhouse, only to discover there’s a demonic presence there.
A house with a malignant evil in it is hardly an original idea, and the weakest thing about this movie is the script, which dabbles in cliches and occasional fits of silliness; I find it hard to take seriously either the crying jar of goo or the demon eyes in the window. Still, the movie redeems itself with a solid cast (which also includes Johnny Whitaker, Jeff Corey and Bruno Ve Sota), creative direction from Steven Spielberg, and some effective camerawork; I particular like how the climax of the movie is handled. What I enjoyed most about the movie was seeing Spielberg honing his craft; I like the way he handles the party and crowd scenes and little touches like the conversation between the wife and her friend’s son in which we see their expressions through the chain lock on a door. It isn’t one of Spielberg’s great movies, by any means, but it probably would have been somewhat weaker in someone else’s hands. And there is something genuinely upsetting about seeing the likable family start to come apart when the evil sets in.