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Well-acted, eerie atmosphere, BBC-style British television spooker is all set to be near-perfect, of a quality right up there with The Changeling or the Woman In Black.But some viewers may be turned off by the relentless torturing of animals that the two kids get up to - far more so than the barely hinted at suggestions in The Innocents film version of this great Henry James story.If you want to see this Henry James story on screen, see 'The Innocents' instead. With superb, almost supernatural acting and the direction of Dan Curtis, this storyis brought to the not very faint-hearted to be viewed in good company on dark shadowy nights.The movie is genuinely frightening, and the subject should - and cannot - be taken lightly.
Now I quote from the backcover of VHS: "Believing that two young orphans in her care have come under the evil, depraved influence of the manor's resident ghost, the sexually repressed governess becomes obsessed with saving the children from what she sees as a mortal threat to their very souls." Well, that's what they say, the people of Cannon Video (remember this company? In fact, she often sees sexually suggestive images (in restraunts or the kids's actions), and the film shows many pieces of art in the mansion, many of which happen to be pictures of naked women. The ghosts are more campy than scary, and that's not the only bad thing about the film.
Additionally, some reviewers fail to understand that the music score includes frequent use of eerie percussion cues, which several people on Amazon have mistakenly referred to as sound effects.
The music very much adds to the moody, mysterious atmosphere.
But you cannot blame them; the film made a wrong decision to be something it couldn't be.
Though it is true that Henry James's original novella allows you to relate the governess' frequent witnessing of ghosts to her repressed sexual desire, you just cannot do it on screen.
I found this aspect spoiled what could have easily been otherwise an above-average haunted house movie relying on psychological chills in the best tradition of The Haunting.