Audrey Rose is an offbeat horror drama- it cares about character more than cheap thrills. It stars Marsha Mason (top billing) as Janice Templeton, John Beck as her husband Bill, and Susan Swift as the young Ivy Templeton. Anthony Hopkins (more than a decade before becoming a full-blown star with The Silence of The Lambs) plays Elliott Hoover.
There is an automobile accident that takes place in 1965 where Hoover’s daughter horrifically dies. The bulk of the story takes place in 1976 where Hopkins’ Hoover sort of stalks The Templeton family (and young Ivy in particular).
With the possessed daughter and fatigued mother- it is hard not to think of The Exorcist (1973)- which I am sure is one reason the film Audrey Rose exists
Audrey Rose catches Marsha Mason at the zenith of her career in 1977—this is the same year as The Goodbye Girl. Mason would (quietly) be nominated for an Oscar four times between 1973 and 1981.
Hopkins’ Hoover is the soul of the film. Hoover is an odd character- emotional, deliberate, articulate. He believes his dead daughter’s soul (the titular Audrey Rose) is now inside Ivy Templeton.
Here, Wise is as shell of the director who made West Side Story and even The Andromeda Strain in 1971 (this is a smaller canvas- 1.85: 1 aspect ratio- than his best work). This is not a particularly well directed film. There is a misused singular freeze frame that is out of place. It is messy in places—but it is sort of hypnotically intriguing, nonetheless.
Mason’s Janice Templeton is frazzled -this is a decent role for Mason.
Recommend but not in the top 10 (or terribly close) to the top 10 of 1977.
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