Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



 Directed by Robert Wise.
 Starring Anthony Hopkins, Marsha Mason, John Beck, John Hillerman, Norman Lloyd.
Horror/Drama, USA, 113 mins, cert 15.

Released in the UK on Blu-ray via Arrow Video on 7th November 2022.


AUDREY ROSE is a 1977 movie starring Anthony Hopkins that plays on tropes similar to those shown in THE EXORCIST – and that movie’s numerous knock-offs – in that a young pubescent girl named Ivy Templeton(Susan Swift) begins to act bizarrely out of character while her distraught parents Janice (Marsha Mason) and Bill (John Beck)try to work out what is wrong, but in this case there is no priest to swoop in and save the day.


However, there is Elliot Hoover (Hopkins), who is just a man that happened to have lost his wife and young daughter, named Audrey Rose, in a car crash several years previous. Funnily enough, Ivy was born a mere two minutes after Audrey Rose died and Hoover believes that Ivy is the reincarnated embodiment of his daughter. Naturally, the Templeton’s think he is mad but every time Ivy has one of her seizures it is Hoover calling her by his daughter’s name that seems to calm her down, so is Hoover just a weird guy with a sad tale to tell or is there some truth in what he is suggesting?


Split into three distinct sections, AUDREY ROSE is an odd one, mainly because it never quite knows what it wants to be. The first part of the movie has a mystery element to it as Hoover starts to stalk this innocent family, appearing outside Ivy’s school, phoning her parents to let them know things about their own daughter and generally being creepy. However, once we have established who is who and Hoover meets with Ivy’s parents to tell them why he is following them the tone shifts slightly, getting heavy on the drama and veering slightly into horror territory (but only slightly), with Ivy having seizures, then running around screaming and appearing to burn her hands on a cold glass window, in an obvious attempt to add a bit of EXORCIST-style bodily mutilation. This is probably the most exciting part of the movie as Hoover kidnaps young Ivy from her doubting parents in an attempt to reconnect with his daughter, and the film sort of reaches a crescendo as Hoover is arrested before we go into the final act, and this is where AUDREY ROSE drops off, both as a horror movie and as a piece of entertainment, because what follows is a courtroom drama where Hoover is trying to prove his theories, introducing veteran actor Norman Lloyd as a hypnotist to try and connect with Audrey Rose through Ivy’s body as Janice Templeton succumbs to Hoover’s beliefs and Bill Templeton becomes even more unlikeable than he was before all of this kicked off. It’s a weird anti-climax to a potentially intriguing twist on possession/reincarnation that is totally undone by flat direction, choppy editing, hilariously bad acting and the kind of payoff you would expect from a PLAY OF THE WEEK-type morality tale.


Looking very 1970s with its orange and brown colour scheme, AUDREY ROSE promises a lot but doesn’t really deliver, despite the talent involved. As far as post-THE EXORCIST spooky child movies go this one is way down the bottom of the pile in terms of horror, terror or any sort of heightened emotion, with no blood or sense of danger present at any time – even the kidnapping is done for understandable reasons and is executed off-screen – and with its made-for-TV look it just doesn’t feel like anything special, and nothing special is exactly what it is. The most interesting of the extra features is an interview with magician/musician Adam Cardone, who talks about reincarnation and the ideas that AUDREY ROSE suggests, which would have made for a better movie than the bland one that we got. As always, Arrow Video’s presentation and packaging is excellent but, as a movie, AUDREY ROSE is a bit of a dud.


Chris Ward.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans