Friday, 15 October 2010
After watching a couple of James White's excellent contributions to Universal's classic horror portfolio, this weak effort, directed by Lambert Hillyer, struck a particularly discordant note. Bogged down by cheap attempts at humour and romance, wooden acting and absurd dialogue, this film fails to really get off the ground even in the last 15 minutes, those crucial last 15 minutes of a horror film when a sudden burst of energy, inventiveness and pace can redeem any number of past infelicities. Some critics have praised Gloria Holden's Countess Zaleska and Irving Piche's Sandor, but the only performance that briefly rose above the level of basic dialogue recitation and glassy-eyed staring was Nan Grey's very brief turn as a doomed victim. The camerawork fails to conceal the multiple takes required to coax even this dismal level of performance out of the players and the pace doesn't meander so much as plummet quickly to a nadir from which it never ascends. There's no sense of immediacy, of threat or even of the campy yet sinister evil conveyed in a film like The Old Dark House. This one's only for the completists.
Posted by JP at 08:08