Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Burnt Offerings

The house has eyes, it watches your every move. The house has ears, it hears your every waking thought and exploits your fears. The house has jaws, it swallows you whole. The house has a deep and dark past nobody knows of. The house has power...The house kills...

Have you ever approached a place out of the ordinary and felt so magnetized to it, almost as if it was Deja Vu'? Have you ever had a vision or perhaps even a feeling that you have been in this particular place in a previous life? In Burnt Offerings, we cannot help but feel the karmic connection between Marian Rolf, a seemingly middle aged and unfulfilled housewife and mother, and the summer rental home owned by the eccentric Allardyces.  She feels drawn to it, more connected to the actual home rather than her husband Ben, whom yearns for intimacy with his wife. But when a homeowner offers to rent out a beautiful, luxurious, Victorian home to you just for $900 for the entire summer, you know there is one very critical stipulation in the offer letter; the "mother" of the house, who keeps herself locked in her bedroom, alienating herself, needs a caretaker.  And a very particular caretaker at that.

The center plot revolves around Marian and the home she feels so "drawn" to. But it's not just the home itself. She becomes more and more involved with "Mrs. Allardyce" and her responsibilities as her caretaker.  Films such as this, The Shining, Audrey Rose, etc. make me question the topic of past lives and reincarnation and why we just feel intertwined with certain places and people. As Marian explores the upstairs room, she sees pictures, "memories of a lifetime" of all the previous tenants. She looks closely as the pictures seem very oddly familiar to her.

The house has a deep and dark past nobody knows of.

As the family gets more and more comfortable, bizarre occurrences take place:  Ben rough houses with Davey in the pool during a "game" and takes it too far and attempts to drown his own son.  Marian is upstairs the whole time, mesmerized by the music box, unaware of what's going on.  Ben suffers from nightmares of his mother's funeral. In his nightmares, he sees the hearse chauffeur grinning a very sinister grin at him.

The house has ears, it hears your every waking thought and exploits your fears.

In an attempt to restore intimacy with his wife, Ben propositions her to go skinny dipping with him in the same pool. As he tries to get more hot and heavy with her, Marian rebuffs his advances. The house light goes on from across the pool and Marian pushes Ben away.

The house has eyes, it watches your every move. 

Aunt Elizabeth, whom at one point had the vibrant energy of a teenager, finds herself becoming unusually fatigue. She tries to introduce herself to "Mrs. Allardyce" however, Marian refuses to let her. At night time, the clocks strike midnight on their own. Ben goes into Davey's room and finds him unconscious from the gas heater. He is revived by Ben and Marian. Tensions begin to grow between Marian and Elizabeth, who were very close at one point. Ben sees how Marian is becoming obsessed with the house and "Mrs. Allardyce". She even yells at Davey. As Aunt Elizabeth lays upstairs dying, help is not readily available, even the operator is busy. Marian tries to get help on her own and claims she was able to get through. She goes about her business downstairs. "Help" finally does arrive. It is the hearse chauffeur with the same sinister grin and a coffin. The following day, Marian goes into the shed and sees the flowers in full bloom. With every death, the house revives itself.

The house has jaws, it swallows you whole.

The house knows Ben wants to leave. The tiles begin to fall from the top in the heavy rain, and Ben takes Davey out of the house and attempts to drive away. The tree falls blocking his path and the vines wrap around Ben. He breaks free and attempts to run the vines and tree over. Marian rescues them and drives back. Ben realizes now that Marian is a "part" of the house. He takes a second look and sees the grinning Chauffeur. Ben goes into a catatonic state.

The house has power.

The following day, Davey decides to go back into the pool while Ben watches by poolside. The pool consumes Davey one last time and almost drowns again. Marian tries to save Davey but the house tries to stop her. She manages to get out and jumps in the pool to save her son. Ben slowly comes out of his catatonic state and cries for Davey. They finally decide it is time to leave the house. At least for the time being. As they finally do get ready to break free from the sinister residence of evil, Marian decides to see "Mrs. Allardyce" one last time.....

The house kills...

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