One usually doesn't associate Robert Altman with the word "creepy" unless one has seen 3 Women (and one really should), but this schizoid nugget is the closest he came to full-on horror. He clearly had been absorbing Bergman and Japanese horror: the atmosphere is richly weird, playing now-you-see-me games with the camera that are sometimes sophisticated, sometimes a kind of arthouse camp. A worthwhile stepping stone.
A bit heavy handed of an approach to insanity via identity shifts, haunting apparitions, and doppelgänger, yet wildly addictive. There is something about the re-occurring image of wind chimes, as if the madness could lead these delicate instruments to explode at any second. The entire interior of the house, in a majestical landscape, resembles a log that's been halfway burned to a silky gray, a stage of aberration.
Altman attempts to condemn the image's source: if the individual is locus of subjectivity, their unity is unreliable, their control provisional. The film's violence aspires to so many cinematic/subjective assassinations, but a synthesis of terminal constructions, ie Polanski's taut horrors, Bergman's visual psychology, forbids the senselessness of its Apocalypticism, the crisis without end. Wanting, overall.
Susannah York is never less than credible, throwing herself into a very challenging role with courageous and committed abandon. Altman collaborates with York to create an unnerving portrait of mental illness which has never been equaled, but has been endlessly ripped off by lesser directors (Ron Howard). The film is in total sympathy with it's mentally unraveling protagonist as she makes her sad flight into madness.
I love psychological dramas and this is one of the best. It's very subtle yet disturbing at the same time. It's better to watch this alone. I think Robert Altman's psychological movies (3 Women, That Cold Day in the Park, The Player, Come Back to the 5 and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean) are kind of underrated.
Effective psychological horror which plays around with identities (notice how the characters' names are essentially names of the actors swapped around). You get the feeling of being plunged into a dark world where reality is inverted. York plays a schizophrenic well.