(out of 5)
Here’s something you’ve always been looking for: a family-friendly horror movie. An average suburban clan are delighted when they discover furniture starting to move by itself in their home; things progress, however, and the otherworldly disturbances become violent and eventually their youngest child (Heather O’Rourke) goes missing. Calling in paranormal experts, the ordeal of getting the child back becomes life-threatening and the family’s home becomes a literal carnival ride of horrific events. Fantastic visual effects and a brilliant screenplay that slowly builds the dread up through character interaction and suggestion is only let down slightly by the actual appearances in the climax of some not-so-scary monstrosities. All the same, the acting is fantastic (Beatrice Straight stands out as one of the experts who helps out) and the dialogue totally believable. Steven Spielberg produced (and it’s obvious).
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Cinematography by Matthew F. Leonetti
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Production Design by James H. Spencer
Costume Design by Ann Gray Lambert
Film Editing by Michael Kahn