The Sender (1982)
Article 6070 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Roger Christian
Featuring Kathryn Harrold, Zeljko Ivanek, Shirley Knight
What it is: Offbeat horror film
A psychiatrist attempts to treat a suicidal amnesiac in a mental ward only to discover the patient has an uncontrollable psychic ability to project his nightmares into the minds of others.
Though I feel this movie has some flaws (such as being a bit muddled at times and having a somewhat unsatisfying ending), I’m really taken with the low-key approach the movie uses to tell its story; it makes the fantastic aspects more unsettling and provides a good contrast to the nightmare sequences. The movie is also anchored by the performances of the leads; Harrold, Ivanek and Knight (as the young man’s mother) all give fine, engaging performances. There are also some odd religious subtexts to the story, given that the young man does not believe he has a father and is mistaken as a Christ figure by some of the other patients. In the end, the positive aspects of the movie are strong enough to make it a worthy view.