Presented by Speilberg's Dreamworks Pictures and 20th Century Fox, this latest offering from the director of the highly acclaimed Forrest Gump Robert Zemeckis evokes mixed reactions.
The movie begins with Norman (Harrison Ford), a genetic scientist and Claire Spencer (Michelle Pfeiffer), a retired cellist moving into a new house besides Vermont Lake after their only daughter leaves for college.
They seem to lead an ideal life, or at least they do, till the neighbours move in next door. Then Claire begins to hear strange noises.
Soon she begins to suspect that there is something wrong with Warren Feur (James Remar) and Mary Feur (Miranda Otto), her new neighbours. Finally she gets convinced that Warren has murdered his wife and accuses him of doing so in public only to then see his wife walking up towards him. Norman, consumed by his work, dismisses all her anxieties and sends her to a psychiatrist (Joe Morton).
In the meantime, Claire continues to hear and see strange things. Finally, she discovers that the presence in her house is that of a young girl who her husband once had an affair with and who is currently listed as missing. Working as a private eye, she starts an investigation about the girl s whereabouts...
Obviously influenced by the Hitchcockian style, Zemeckis' latest venture is indeed well directed, beautifully picturised and finely crafted. It is also guaranteed to send chills up your spine.
The acting, as expected, is excellent. Both Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer live up to expectations...especially Pfeiffer, who manages to exude an almost wraithlike quality throughout the entire movie. A positive is also the setting - the isolation of Vermont lake is a perfect foil for a horror movie which relies less on overtly contrived special effects and more on the screenplay and the strong characters to pull through.
Written by Clark Gregg and based on the story by Sarah Kernochian and Clark Gregg, the script shows expectations of being great. But after the first half, it begins to meander in a somewhat alarming manner. As a result, all the suspense that was being built up almost falls flat on its face. However to give the film due credit, it never lacked pace (it merely lost its way somewhere along!) and it will keep the viewer gripped throughout.This article was first published on 13 Sep 2000.