Julia Lofting (Mia Farrow, Hannah and Her Sisters), an American woman living in England, loses her only child in a freak accident. Inconsolable after the tragedy, Julia is quickly institutionalized. When she’s discharged, Julia decides to leave her husband (Keir Dullea, 2001: A Space Odyssey) and start fresh in another town. She buys a spacious house and begins to plan for the future. After hosting a séance in her new home, Julia suspects that the spirit of her late daughter has returned.
Reaction & Thoughts:
Absorbing, scary slow-burn supernatural thriller that gets the job done without relying on cheap scare tactics or expensive visual effects. The Haunting of Julia (aka Full Circle) is also wonderfully ambivalent — has Julia’s daughter comeback from the death or is the grieving mother simply imagining things? The movie expertly toys with several possibilities, all of them interesting.
British director Richard Loncraine (The Gathering Storm) is able to create and sustain a tremendously tense atmosphere. This is the kind of movie you don’t want to watch late at night! The excellent screenplay, based upon Peter Straub’s 1975 novel Julia, is credited to Harry Bromley Davenport and Dave Humphries (Quadrophenia).
Colin Towns’s (Slayground) music score is excellent too. Peter Hannan’s (Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life and Withnail & I ) cinematography is also worthy of praise — Hannan’s brilliantly shadowy camera work needs to be seen in its original widescreen aspect ratio to be fully appreciated, though.
The Haunting of Julia provided Mia Farrow with one of her very best roles. She is pretty great here — Farrow hits all the right notes in a highly demanding role.
In addition to Farrow and Dullea, the cast includes Tom Conti (Reuben, Reuben), Jill Bennett (The Nanny) and Cathleen Nesbitt (An Affair to Remember) as Ms. Rudge. Anna Wing (Xtro) is particularly effective as a psychic. Actor-turned-Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes (Godsford Park) makes his film debut as a librarian.
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
It’s too bad that the film has not been released on DVD in USA. The Haunting of Julia deserves to be better known — it’s definitely one of my favorite paranormal movies. Color, 98 minutes, Rated R.