“Burnt Offerings”

900 bucks to rent a giant sprawling estate for the whole summer.

It’s too good to be true, of course. It’s a horror movie, after all. And the house in BURNT OFFERINGS puts its summer inhabitants through hell.

A family, led by Karen Black and Oliver Reed, rent a decaying mansion for the summer. They plan to bring along his old aunt (a delicious Bette Davis) and their young son Davy.

The house’s owners, the Allardyces, are a weirdo brother and sister pair (Eileen Heckart and Burgess Meredith chewing the scenery), and their offer is real… as long the family agrees to take care of this elderly mother (an agorophobe who hides away in her room and takes a tray three times a day). They agree, and the summer begins.

Weird dreams plague the father and odd things begin to happen. The house is having an effect on them all, and as their family bonds deteriorate, the house begins to change, getting fresher, appearing younger.

The pace is a little slow, and the film can get a little ponderous. But the story is solid.

This one’s a real gem. Some terrific performances sit at its center, and the ending is an effectively creepy conclusion. It’s got style. And it’s worth a watch.

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