Fright (DVD)

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Fright (DVD)

When Amanda agreed to babysit for a friend, little did she realise it would begin an endless night of terror. For her neighbour's insane ex-husband ha...

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Review of "Fright (DVD)"

published 15/11/2017 | CelticSoulSister
Member since : 25/10/2009
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Thanks heartily for all the r/r/c to everyone. If it appears that I've not rated you, it most likely will be due to having used up all your reviews and am waiting for your next publication. Also I've disabled receiving alerts via email for a good reason.
Excellent
Pro Tense, well-acted/directed
Cons I can't think of any
exceptional
Did you enjoy it?
Story
Characters / Performances
Special Effects
Soundtrack

"Classic 1970s psychological thriller/horror"

RELEASED: 1971, Cert. 18

RUNNING TIME: Approx. 1hr 27mins

DIRECTOR: Peter Collinson

SCREENPLAY: Tudor Gates

PRODUCERS: Harry Fine & Michael Style

MUSIC: Harry Robinson

MAIN CAST:-

Susan George as Amanda
Ian Bannen as Brian
Honor Blackman as Helen
George Cole as Jim
Dennis Waterman as Chris

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FILM ONLY REVIEW

Helen and Jim are going out for the evening and leave their young child with new babysitter, Amanda. Amanda is a student and seems a very capable girl.

There is some tension between Helen and Jim as they set off towards the restaurant where they are to have a meal. Something is on Helen’s mind and she is worried that Amanda might not cope.

In the house alone with the child, Amanda starts to hear noises then discovers her boyfriend Chris outside. She lets him in and it is obvious he has nookie on his mind!

However, what later comes to light is that Helen’s first husband, Brian, has escaped from a secure mental hospital and still desperately wanting his wife back, he turns up at the house where Amanda is babysitting…..and, what began as a quiet evening turns into one of terror.

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Fright is one of these golden oldies from the early 1970s when – love them or loathe them - horror films had a particular charm all of their own. I did manage to see most of them as they made their travels throughout the cinema circuit, but for some reason this one escaped me. However, I recently have at long last got around to watching it.

Fright begins very well with Amanda arriving at Helen’s and Jim’s house and a decent atmosphere of background tension is immediately present. At first most of this tension emanates from Helen as she obviously has a lot on her mind, she taking her stress out on the amiable Jim (who at first you presume to be her husband). Jim simply tries his best, with a smile, to calm Helen down – then they leave for an evening out at a restaurant.

Amanda settles to relax into her babysitting duties. She right at the beginning shows herself to be very good with the child….and, she is a student who is studying child psychology. However, she becomes a little nervous upon hearing noises outside, but this simply turns out to be her cheeky chappie boyfriend Chris. It is obvious that Chris has turned up for just one thing, but before long, they discover they aren’t (aside from the sleeping child upstairs) alone.

The music to Fright is typical of this kind of film from the early 1970s, being orchestral in nature, with little rolls travelling up and down the strings section, creating decent levels of tension and suspense at the appropriate moments.

The acting in Fright really is very good. Susan George is great as the initially cool, capable, calm and collected Amanda – probably her best role as in some of her other parts in early 1970s horror films I have felt that she over-acted somewhat, but in this she hits the perfection button. Dennis Waterman gives a very able performance as Chris, Amanda’s boyfriend….he’s a nice guy, but doesn’t want to take “no” for an answer when it comes to what he has in mind for the evening once he’s arrived at Helen’s and Jim’s house to babysit with Amanda. George Cole delivers well as Jim, an easy-going, pleasant-natured man who simply wants to enjoy an evening out with his partner Helen, yet is concerned about her negative mood. Honor Blackman is excellent too as Helen – to me, quite (at least in the first instance) a dislikeable, negative sort of individual, but she does have her reasons for being so, and she presents her grim mood in such a way that whilst watching, you almost catch it yourself.

The shining accolade, performance-wise, in Fright surely must go to Ian Bannen as Helen’s husband, a highly disturbed individual who has been banged up in a top security psychiatric unit for a long time, but manages to escape, turning up at Helen’s house whilst Amanda and Chris are together babysitting – plus indulging in a bit of nookie! Bannen was always excellent at playing these disturbed types of character and in Fright he truly delivers the goods, coming out on top form. Some might feel that he over-acts a little bit, but I personally don’t think so as his character (Brian) in this film truly is one very, very disturbed individual.

The setting for Fright is an isolated, large house which is traditional in style/design, with antiquated furnishings and décor, together with creaky floorboards, stairs and strategically placed mirrors. Odd paintings (Helen’s taste in artwork) adorn the walls, a rather bleak, disturbing mood pervades in this old house, almost as if there are miasmically dark energies present – I don’t mean dark energies in the sense of the supernatural – more that I mean a collection of vibes connected with people’s emotional turmoil. The design/props team responsible for the creation of the atmosphere of this old house came up trumps here, managing to convey something claustrophobic and tense, which the viewer picks up on even before anything significant happens.

Fright is a very easy storyline to follow and it isn’t laden with so many characters that you have to concentrate too much on remembering who is who. I love the way it jumps from the happenings in the old house then to Helen and Jim in the restaurant and back again, as it gives a double set of situations where all is not well…..e.g. the rising tension in the house, especially upon the arrival of Brian, and back in the restaurant as Helen becomes more and more agitated when she suspects what could be happening back home.

There is some sex in Fright and it is presented tastefully. Some may be dubious in that it first appears as if Chris is perhaps being a bit too demanding as regards what he wants Amanda to do, bearing in mind she does offer up some protestation, but there are no worries there as she at root isn’t unwilling. There is also a bit of blood and some violence which is convincingly portrayed – perhaps quite surprisingly so for a film from this era (early 1970s), plus there is an edge of your seat style barrage of tension which gradually accelerates into a stunning finale. The general pacing of the storyline is perfect, trotting along decently and every single moment is perfectly laced with this delicious tension/suspense.

How realistic is Fright? It is difficult to say, but whilst watching, I was trying to imagine myself in the different positions of both Amanda babysitting in the old house, and Helen unable to fully enjoy her meal at the restaurant due to what is on her mind. Giving it some thought and within the situation of the storyline, I suppose it wouldn’t be a common occurrence, but nonetheless it certainly isn’t impossible – and were it to happen for real, this probably is exactly how the events would take place and the characters would behave.

All in all I really enjoyed Fright. I was surprised at the very adept levels of acting plus the decent suspense/tension present in the cloying, rather creepy atmosphere which is accentuated by the gradually altering moods of the characters. I can’t say that I was terrified out of my wits, but I did feel slightly disturbed whilst watching and I know that if I were in the situation of the storyline of the film, I’d be terrified.

Fright is probably one of the better films of this nature from the early 1970s and I’d go as far as to say that it also tops many modern-day productions in content, tension levels and atmosphere. I am trying to find fault with it – even something small – but I can’t, so I guess it in that case should be the recipient of a full house of stars from me. Acting and tension/suspense aside, probably the best thing about Fright is that it isn’t trying too hard. It isn’t sensationalist despite some heavy-duty acting levels (but those are required in this instance) and it is a carefully-directed/produced film which hits all the right spots atmosphere-wise.

I definitely would recommend Fright to anybody, although would urge that for full appreciation, it must be accepted that it is a film from a different era and is style-wise, very much out of the early 1970s. However and to an open mind, I don’t consider that should present any kind of problem.

My final few words? Give this one a watch as it is a well-acted, well-directed/produced, highly tense/atmospheric chiller.

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At the time of writing and on Amazon, you can purchase a new DVD copy of Fright for as little as £8.68, rising to a maximum of £12.43. There is currently one used copy for sale at £6.47. Standard delivery charges should apply.

Thanks for reading!

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Comments on this review

  • 2mennycds published 19/11/2017
    E evaluation
  • Candyperfumegirl published 16/11/2017
    Ex
  • justarube published 16/11/2017
    Great review
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Product Information : Fright (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

When Amanda agreed to babysit for a friend, little did she realise it would begin an endless night of terror. For her neighbour's insane ex-husband has managed to escape from a mental asylum. And tonight is the night he has chosen to come home.....

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