Dull-unease. Yep. That’s the word for this flick. Duneasy? Can we use that so I can stop using hyphens? I’m gonna go with duneasy and I suggest you start using it too. Seriously, this movie is the epitome of duneasy. The dullness part of the equation comes through like a brick half heartedly lobbed at an old window. A college student meets a Groucho Marx disguised “reporter” and somehow falls for the dink. The promise of a picnic sets us on the path to doom…and we never even get to see the damn picnic.
Of course the couple gets lost and stumble upon what remains of the Soda Spring Spa. Exploring, as youths are known to do, they discover the place isn’t as abandoned as it should be. There’s a delightful old lady who calls the place her home and she’s more than happy to share a cup of tea with the young whippersnappers. Wandering and talking has been the name of the game up to this point but Jenny gets a little sleepy after the pulse pounding day she’s been having and knocks out on the couch. John and the elderly tenant walk around the property.
Jenny awakens and goes searching for her boy toy but all she manages to find is a ghostly woman in white wandering on the opposite side of the property…no matter where she is standing!!!! Her sluggish terror is soon quelled when she finds John. The two leave and Jenny decides to never go back to the old spa again. But life is never that kind to women in horror films…or reality.
John decides he wants to go back and interview the old lady about the spa because that just may be the hottest story this side of the Mississippi. So back they go and then the shit hits the fan….or slowly drizzles onto it. An old hunter tells her the tragic background of the place. A bride was murdered and eaten by the satan worshipping weirdos who used to call the place home. Now he may not believe that story but his disbelief does nothing to save him from the afro’d axe wielding psychopath hiding in the joint.
Jenny slowly doubts her sanity as all the weird shit she is seeing is not being experienced by anyone else. Even physical damage done to the property by afro-axeman and his Allman Brother looking partner vanishes immediately when John comes to check on her screaming fits.
Of course, this being a 70s horror film, Jenny is not insane. In fact, John and the old lady are in cahoots and they need a blood sacrifice to carry on their evil ways. So yes, there has been a vibrating dullness hammering away at the foundation of the film since minute one. Somehow, the endless walking and talking mingles with the oddness and instead of bringing on fits of sleep it kind of trickles in a nice bit of nervousness.
It’s weird without trying to be and that’s probably why I enjoy it so much. The natural alienating atmosphere is a wonder. That’s why it’s far more interesting than it has any right to be…but it’s also not. Oh man, it’s so weird. Ghosts, cannibals and satan worshipping grannies shouldn’t be this lame but it wouldn’t work any other way. Duneasiness wins again. 6/10