Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Haunting of Julia, The (aka Full Circle) (1977) (2nd viewing) d. Loncraine, Richard (UK/Canada)

This exquisite slow burn horror yarn ranks alongside The Changeling and Don’t Look Now as one of the most atmospheric and dread-filled ghost stories; like its cinematic younger sibling, it focuses on the death of the protagonist’s child, shockingly depicted in the opening scene. Here, the traumatized parent is Mia Farrow (at her pallid and stuttering best, in spite of a wavering English accent) who, after being released from a doctor’s care, distances herself from rigid husband Keir Dullea and sets up solitary life in a flat on the outskirts of London. After a larkish dinner party séance turns sinister, Farrow becomes convinced that the spirit of her child is attempting to contact her, but her paranormal investigations reveal something far more macabre. Aided immeasurably by Colin Towns’ spare piano-and-strings score, Loncraine casts a foreboding spell over the proceedings, immersing the viewer in Farrow’s grief and desire to reconnect with her daughter. This empathy makes her (and our) quest for answers to the supernatural mystery, motoring the deliberately paced chiller to a devastating conclusion.

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