4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The cat people return...but wait, they're just the actors and the claws have been removed,
This review is from: The Curse of the Cat People  [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Great potential within limited means, and then the slow leak of air from the balloon. The Curse of the Cat People pulls together Simone Simon, Kent Smith and Jane Randolph from 1942's Cat People and attempts to cash in on that movie's success. This time, however, despite great photography and some eerie situations, the pieces simply fall apart.
It's now about seven years since Irena Reed (Simone Simon) died. Oliver Reed (Kent Smith) has married Alice Moore (Jane Randolph). They live in a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood, and they have a beautiful, quiet, lonely six-year-old daughter, Amy (Ann Carter). One afternoon Amy wanders down the street and finds her way into the yard of a great old house. She hears, "Little girl, little girl," and someone behind the curtains of an upstairs window throws down to her a ring tied to a handkerchief. But just then a severe looking woman appears, takes the handkerchief from Amy and tells her to leave. Amy believes she was given a wishing ring. One afternoon, playing by herself in her backyard, she wishes for a friend. Soon, a friend appears...Irena, in a flowing gossamer white gown. She and Amy play together during the days which pass. Is Irena just a figment of a lonely little girl's need, or is she something more sinister from her father's past? And what about the two women who live in that forbidding mansion...an old woman who says her daughter died years ago and the other woman who sent Amy on her way but who insists she is the old woman's daughter. All I can say is that the movie builds some intriguing possibilities, but ends with a great dollop of sentimental goop.
Simone Simon plays a key role but has relatively little screen time, and only with Amy. It is disconcerting to see how Irena, a woman of repressed sexuality and rage in Cat People, has now become a low-budget version of Glinda, the good witch of the north. Kent Smith and Jane Randolph were both limited actors. Here Smith's Oliver Reed has become a successful, clueless clod and Randolph's Alice Reed is little more than a mannered antecedent to June Cleaver. The two women in the mansion fare much better. The old woman, Mrs. Julie Farren, is played by Julia Dean with a nice combination of ambivalent kindness mixed with a touch of angry dementia. The standout, in my view, is Elizabeth Russell as her daughter, Barbara Farren. Russell is a tall woman who has "psycho" written all over her attractive, severe features. But is she?
The Curse of the Cat People is a title that, as was often the case with a Val Lewton production, doesn't have much more than a slight relevance to the storyline. Still, the movie has some great ingredients: The possibility of horror in bright daylight in a nice neighborhood; the dread that something awful might happen to a child; the uncertainty of who is going off their hinges. But it doesn't happen. There is some tension and suspense, but to no great purpose. We just wind up knowing more than we want to about the needs of lonely children.