A man enters the lives of a married couple and tries to convince them that their daughter is actually the reincarnation of his own daughter who died in a car accident years prior.
Directed by Robert Wise (The Sound of Music, Star Trek: The Motion Picture) brings to life the story of Audrey Rose. Based on the novel by Frank de Felitta (who also did the screenplay) our journey begins with viewing the death of a mother and daughter in a horrible car accident. We are then taken to a happy scene of a family of three partaking in fun activities and enjoying life in general. These are the Temptletons; Bill (John Beck), Janice (Marsha Mason), and daughter Ivy (played wonderfully by then newcomer, Susan Swift). In the background, you realize that this family is being watched by a bearded stranger, Elliot Hoover (Anthony Hopkins). He follows the family everywhere they go but never gets too close. Finally the Templeton’s realize they are being spied upon by this stranger. Being late from picking up Ivy from school, Janice realizes to her horror that this man has assisted Ivy in getting home, where Janice loses her calm demeanor and shakes Ivy warning her to never go with strangers.
Mr. Hoover finally requests a meeting with the Templetons in a restaurant where he proceeds to inform them that his daughter, Audrey Rose had died in a car crash and has been reincarnated into their own daughter, Ivy. Obviously taken aback by this news, the Templetons at first refute this news and pass Mr. Hoover off as a lunatic. But Ivy has started to display strange behavior such as weird nightmares, never remembering anything that had transpired and night terrors resulting in strange burns on her hands when no heat had been applied. All of this leads Janice to start believing that maybe Mr. Hoover has some validity in his claims. She realizes that when Ivy goes into these terrors, it is only Mr. Hoover that can successfully calm Ivy down. She seems to recognize him when he calls her by Audrey Rose. Could he be telling the truth? Could Ivy really be the reincarnation of his deceased daughter?
The Templeton’s then decide to let the courts decide what the truth is regarding the battle for Ivy/Audrey Rose’s soul. After allowing Bill to give consent for Ivy to be put under hypnosis, Janice attempts to take her daughter out of the hospital; however, Ivy says she wants to go through with the hypnosis in the hopes to find out what is wrong with her. We then watch Ivy go under the hypnotic trance and see her regress back a few years at a time actually watching her go into the fetal position, then back to sitting up as she becomes Audrey Rose at the moment of her death.
Anthony Hopkins as the bereaved father of Audrey Rose displays an on screen calm that makes him almost scary by himself if not for the fact that you can see the love he has for his daughter who he believes is living inside Ivy. He cares for her and wishes no harm be done to her whatsoever. Bill and Janice while faced with an unbelievable story of reincarnation, must now battle Hoover to keep him away from their daughter but realize that he is the only one that can calm her when she goes into her manic episodes. The movie then intertwines all of them together in a very sad ending.
I remember seeing this movie when I was a kid and finding it to be a scary story of possession and nightmares. Not as scary as say, The Exorcist, or The Omen, but still as a kid, it did a great job of creeping me out. Seeing this now, it’s not scary at all, but it is a haunting, sad tale of a father’s undying love for a deceased daughter. The music score, while not great, fits the period of the 70’s. The acting is good especially Hopkins and that of the young Susan Swift. She was just stellar in this role. If you want to see a classic tale of tragic death, reincarnation, and possession then give this movie a view.