US movie (1977). United Artists/Robert Wise. Pr Frank de Felitta and Joe Wizan. Dir Wise. Spfx Henry Millar Jr. Screenplay de Felitta. Based on Audrey Rose (1975) by de Felitta. Starring John Beck (Bill Templeton), Anthony Hopkins (Elliot Hoover), Marsha Mason (Janice Templeton), Susan Swift (Ivy Templeton). 113 mins. Colour.
11 years ago Elliot Hoover's daughter Audrey Rose was burned alive in a car crash; now he believes her Reincarnation is the Templetons' 11-year-old daughter Ivy, or at least that Ivy has been possessed by Audrey Rose's spirit (see Possession), which has returned to corporeality too soon to have healed itself of the traumas of the agonizing death. Ivy is subject to nightmares and wild grief around each birthday; Hoover's presence calms her, but the attacks increase in severity and start to involve Poltergeist effects. A court case ensues; Ivy is subjected to regression hypnosis and, through reliving Audrey Rose's last moments, dies.
Often slated as an insufficiently frightening bandwagon Horror Movie – it came after The Exorcist (1973) and The Omen (1976) – AR is in fact an excellent Supernatural Fiction; its portrait of supposed reincarnation cases is not especially sensationalized. Some ancillary elements are embarrassingly '70s, and Ivy's father, representing rationalism, is made too stupid to act as a proper counterargument, but overall this is a very rewarding movie. One brief sequence, as a child flees through the rain, is strongly reminiscent of Don't Look Now (1973). [JG]