Reporter Selena (Leigh) returns home to a remote island off the Maine coast for the first time in 15 years. Her mother Dolores (Bates) has been charged with the murder of her wealthy employer (Parfitt). She's shocked at the dilapidated state of their lonely old house, but her mother is even more shocked at how much Selena has blanked out from the past, about Dolores's husband Joe (Strathairn), and about his death. A melodrama with Grand Guignol trappings, adapted from a first-person novel by Stephen King, Hackford's film invites comparison not only with Misery, but a whole sub-genre of movies, including What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Marnie, which cast a beady eye over the 'Monstrous Feminine'. In terms of suspense, it becomes wrapped up in itself in a series of long and overwrought flashbacks, but there's a strong, pervasive sense of barely contained dementia, and it's a rare movie which presents three formidable female roles. No classic, but a real kettle of fish.
Cast and crew
Jennifer Jason Leigh