The Hearse, a film released in 1980, is about as tame a horror movie as one could possibly get. Starring Trish Van Devere and a much older Joseph Cotton, they would ham it up as best they could delivering fairly solid performances, but the material was ultimately too weak to be very good and their efforts, while appreciated, were essentially wasted.
The movie finds a woman named Jane Hardy, just arrived at her aunt’s house to claim it as said aunt has passed away. After hardly any time at all, she discovers that the people of Blackford are quite rude towards her, if not downright hostile and she finds it all quite strange. It is not long after that she meets a man and starts dating, has a run-in with the town preacher, butts heads with her lawyer and determines that she is being haunted by her dead, Satan-worshipping aunt.
If nothing else, The Hearse is a pretty by-the-book haunted house movie, though it is not just the house as Jane finds herself followed by the hearse that was carrying her aunt at one point. There is a bit of door slamming, weird sounds, strange lights and so on – all of it extremely cliché and found in almost every film made in this particular genre. That is not to say that it is at all disagreeable, as one never knows what the filmmakers might have in mind as the movie progresses. There is always a chance of a surprise or an inadvertent step taken down a different path which could lead to something new and exciting. The fact that this movie did not do so is only made known by the end of the film, much like every other movie out there and they all require watching in case they might redeem themselves through surprise or innovation. As it is, this picture does not, but it is not all bad as those aforementioned performances at least offer something for the audience to latch onto and elevating it to a somewhat entertaining picture.
When one talks about a solid B movie, The Hearse could be considered as such, but it is a little overlong and a little boring in some places, the film needing a few cuts here and there to give it a little punch to liven things up. There is little to no suspense, a bit of tension as Jane’s nerves start to fray during the third act and the horror is essentially non-existent, so if needing something to put on for background noise or to fall asleep to, this movie will do the trick. As for horror, one can easily do better.
2.5 out of 5