This is one of those that I thought I'd seen way back when, but that I'm pretty sure now I'd never seen until tonight. And after all that time, my main thought was meh. There's some good stuff, and I liked the 3 main leads (Kidder, Brolin, and Rod Steiger as a priest), but the story never really goes anywhere. And damn, it's pretty slow going for the most part--if this were made today, it would never be a bloated 119 minutes long. Actually I guess it was remade recently, so let me check how long that one was: ha, a cool 90 minutes...I rule!
So, what's good and bad here? Well, first, it does have a great early scene with Rod Steiger as a priest who gets attacked by flies, trapped in a room, and then told to "Get out!" by some voice. Which led to this awesome clip (possibly the source of my false memory syndrome about having seen this movie).
There's also a racy early scene with Margot Kidder, who I totally had the hots for from the first two Superman movies. Actually, it's not very racy, but you do get this:
There's also a cool subplot involving Catholic priests disagreeing over what to do about the house, but it sort of goes nowhere, and you never get an awesome exorcism as anticipated. The people just flee the house after 28 days of bleeding walls, windows that open on their own, and shaking chandeliers. And really, that's about the sum of the horror here--the damn chandelier shakes a LOT.
There's also never any satisfying big reveal like in Poltergeist when Craig T. Nelson realizes the whole development was build over a burial ground. Here, they sort of throw in a disgraced Salem witch dude who built his house on that spot, which is now some sort of portal to hell.
Whatever. It's not terrible by any means, but I was hoping for better. Sort of. Really scary haunted stuff movies kind of do freak me out, so maybe I needed a sissy one like this to build up my thon tolerance.