Don't be a fake Linda Blair.
Ivy Templeton is having a real shitter of a day. First, some creep is following her around. Secondly, she can't decide what to do on her birthday and lastly she just might be the reincarnation of a little hellfire called Audrey Rose.
Upper Crust NYC couple John Beck(later Mark Greyson from DALLAS) and Marsha Mason (giving her best Ellen Burstyn performance) have a slight problem. It seems that Anthony Hopkins, with various different hair colors and toupees, is convinced that his daughter, lil' stinker Audrey Rose, has been reincarnated into their weirdo 13 year old daughter, Ivy. Everyone just writes him off as a kook, until Ivy has a massive FREAK-OUT and her hands burst into flames. Right before she sends herself sailing through the apartment window, Hopkins arrives to sooth her lost soul. Is he crazy? Is Audrey Rose trapped inside the body of Susan Swift?! Do we care? The answer is no.
This movie is trying to be one of those awesome "classy" horror films from the 70's, but just comes off as stale and boring as hell. Robert Wise's direction is beautiful and sometimes stunning, but there is just so much you can do with a screenplay like this. Frank De Felitta, who also wrote the original book source and that book about the ghost that keeps raping Hillary Whitney, had a big job on his hands. To condense his 400 pager book into a two hour time slot is a difficult task. All the heart and spirit of the book seemed totally lost. The scares are far and few between and they just kinda happen...not exciting...just there..it is like every once in awhile we get a scene of Susan Swift freaking out and running around...big scares!
Marsha Mason gives it her all, but just is not able to break past the Ellen Burstyn comparisons from THE EXORCIST. No one can even touch Ellen in that movie, and Mason just comes off as a low rent version. The weight of the film really falls onto Susan Swift's performance. Now Swift actually won me over, because she is only 13 and this was her first movie. She really, really tries. It doesn't work, but she tries.
Her captured innocence doesn't really sell and she comes off playing yet another comparison to THE EXORCIST, but this time to Linda Blair. Which we all know there is only one Linda Blair!
The movie morphs into a heavy courtroom drama! Yes, a courtroom drama, with Audrey Rose's father actually SUING the couple for custody of their daughter. Marsha Mason sends her daughter to the hospital after Ivy jumps into a fire while doing some weird Wicker Man shit at her catholic school and stands around a lot and cries.
Then in the final act, Susan Swift pulls out the big acting guns and comes out a-blazing. Sitting through an hour and 35 minutes of crap is totally worth it to see Miss Swift reach deep down and for a solid 15 minutes, go through every emotion in the book. GIT IT GIRL!!!
So the question remains. Does Audrey Rose live inside Ivy? Can Ivy's parents come to terms with it? Does the audience care? All signs point to NO.
Lucky for us Susan Swift made another movie called BURNED AT THE STAKE aka THE COMING about witches! And it is all sorts of awesome! YAHOO!!!