Something Evil (1972) starring Sandy Dennis, Darren McGavin, Ralph Bellamy, Jeff Corey, Johnny Whitaker directed by Steven Spielberg Movie Review

Something Evil (1972)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Sandy Dennis in Something Evil (1972)

Something Spielberg

Advertising executive Paul Worden (Darren McGavin) and his wife Marjorie (Sandy Dennis) buy up a real fixer upper on a rural country estate for them and their kids to live. Whilst Paul spends most of the week in the city working Marjorie stays at their new home with the kids where she creates various pieces of art. But it isn't long before she finds herself becoming spooked by strange goings on around the place especially neighbouring farmer Gehrmann (Jeff Corey) who believes in demons and does things to protect himself from evil spirits. With Paul struggling to believe what he hasn't encountered Marjorie starts to believe the place is haunted by a demon.

Early Spielberg, that is the key thing here as "Something Evil" was one of those made for TV movies which he made at the start of the 70s before graduating to the big screen. It is the key because the most interesting aspect of the movie is to see the director's style on a made for TV budget with some aspects of his style being obvious back then. In fact considering we are talking TV movie you end up sort of impressed as Spielberg managed to attract some then big name stars such as McGavin and Bellamy who deliver solid performances.

The trouble is that the actual story to "Something Evil" is in itself not that interesting as we have Marjorie ending up spooked by the various strange things she encounters in their new rural home, pushing her towards madness. From the chicken sacrifices of Gehrmann to the noises she hears at night none of it is really gripping and is all quite tame. Even doors slamming on their own does little to make you jump and I suspect that "Something Evil" was one of those movies which really only worked for teenagers who encountered it back in 1972 late at night and still have memories of the experience.

What this all boils down to is that "Something Evil" is now only of interest to those interested in Steven Spielberg's early career and as such will see various elements which he would improve on in later movies. But as a horror movie this has little going for it and watched for frights it comes up short.