#135 -- "A" Challenge: Are You in the House Alone? (1978)

Director: Walter Grauman
Rating: 2/5

First of all, I have no idea why this is categorized as horror. There's nothing even remotely horror-like present. It's more of a drama. It's a pretty good drama, but I'm not reviewing drama movies, am I? So I'll review it as a horror movie, and as a horror it was terrible. It's about a young girl named Gail who seems to have everything: a best friend (Allison) and a sweet and sexy new boyfriend (Steve). She's planning on being a photographer one day, and if you ask her teachers, she's well on her way. But everything changes when Gail starts receiving creepy notes in her locker. One says, "I'm watching you," and the other says, "I know where you are, you tramp." It doesn't stop there, though. She gets some creepy phone calls too. The first was just heavy breathing, typical prankster stuff, so she doesn't look too far into that one. Then the caller starts laughing maniacally. In one phone call he states that he is "getting closer," and the other he asks if she is--surprise!--in the house alone. One night, while babysitting for a neighbor, he shows up and rapes her. This is a guy that she knows very well (or thought she did), and since his family is powerful around town, there isn't much she can do about it. They won't lock him up, or punish him in any way. Gail's father is mighty pissed, and seriously considers killing the boy, but that wouldn't do any good either. Instead, Gail decides to prove that he did it so that he can be punished as he should. When she sees that he's decided to go after another one of their classmates, she sets up a hidden camera to catch him in the act of placing the threatening note in the girl's locker. He finds her and isn't very happy, but everything works out--sort of--well.

Like I said, this isn't much of a horror movie. It was made for TV, so it's sort of like a woman-empowering after school special. It's got a good moral story, and good lesson to teach to women: don't be weak and fight for what you know is right. The cast was great (and included a very young and not very nice Dennis Quaid), and the relationships between Gail and her co-stars were incredible. It was very believable; it just wasn't horrifying. I know you're thinking, "Hey! Rape is very horrifying!" Yes, it is. But at the end of the day, Gail (or whoever was playing her) could have a drink with her attacker knowing that he didn't do a damn thing to her. Rape is horrible in the real world. My point is this...there was no suspense. To me, it was obvious who the bad guy was the entire time; I was just waiting for him to come out and show himself. It was slow and boring, and if a movie is going to call itself horror, it cannot be slow. Or at least, the slow pace should go along nicely with the story. It didn't work for me here. If I had gone into this thinking here's a nice drama movie about a young girl overcoming adversity, I probably would have liked it. But I went into it thinking it was an older version of When A Stranger Calls (a movie that frightened me a bit). So I was expecting at least a little bit of bloodshed. I was waiting for some action that never happened. I was very disappointed in this one, and I think Netflix should remove it from its "horror" section. There's nothing horror about it. I should also point out that it was based on a novel, and I feel the story is much better suited for that. Slow pacing works in books, not in movies.

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