LADY IN WHITE

A day in the life of a young Uncle Floyd(1988)
With Lucas Haas, Len Cariou, Alex Rocco, Katherine Helmond, Jason Presson
Directed by Frank LaLoggia
Reviewed by JL

      Although Frank LaLoggia's LADY IN WHITE is marred slightly by the director's desire to accomplish too much, it is nevertheless a successful and unique blend of nostalgia and horror.  The action unfolds on Halloween in 1962, when young Frankie Scarlatti (Lucas Haas) is the victim of a bully's prank and winds up locked in the school cloak room overnight (a lengthy scene that is among the scariest 20 minutes ever committed to film).  There he is visited by the specter of a young girl who was murdered in the same location 11 years earlier.  She was one of ten local children murdered during that time, and it is up to Frankie and his older brother Geno (Jason Presson) to gather the clues that will identify the murderer.

     LADY IN WHITE's main problem is its inconsistent point of view: we see most events through Frankie's eyes, but LaLoggia can't maintain his carefully established tone when the harsh realities of the adult world intrude on the narrative.  In addition, a subplot involving the wrongful arrest of the school janitor is needlessly tragic and violent in its resolution.  Overall, however, LADY IN WHITE is a one of the most effective and beautifully photographed horror films of the past 25 years.  La Loggia's exaggerated color scheme is strictly autumnal, to the extent that there's not a true red to be found (blood flows a nice pumpkin orange, for instance).  The film also reminds us that true horror need not rely on dazzling special effects and buckets of blood; most of the "ghost effects" in the film are simple double exposures.  It's just the film for those who think "The Exorcist Meets the Waltons" would be a swell premise. 4 - JL 

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