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The Haunting of Seacliff Inn Reviews

Originally made for cable, this well-paced supernatural romance is reasonably diverting. Susan Enright (Ally Sheedy) informs her cynical hubby Mark (William R. Moses) that a Mendocino seacoast house is the ideal location for their proposed bed-and-breakfast; what Mark doesn t know is that the house has a mysterious hold over Susan. The home's gracious owner, Lorraine Adler (Maxine Stuart), who expressed no interest in selling, dies that same night. The Enrights' idea of running a resort is intended to shore up their shaky marriage, which is troubled as a result of Susan's workaholic nature and Mark's infidelities. After workmen unseal a formely closed-off area of the upper floors, the dream-house turns into a nightmare as an electrician is nearly fatally fried. The Enrights subsequently learn that the house is haunted by its builder, Captain Jeremiah Hastings (James Horan), who habitually cheated on his wife Olivia with Sara Warner (Lucinda West) 100 years before and committed arson to cover up his murder of his wife. For the phantom Jeremiah, Susan represents his sole chance to love again, while the ghostly Sara does her damnedest to compromise Mark's marital vows. Jeremiah tries to remove Mark with both an attack by a possessed dog and a darkroom assassination attempt that kills the Enrights' pooch. As the Enrights' tempers flare as a result of the ghosts' dirty tricks, Mark jumps at the opportunity for an outside photography job. Encouraged by psychic neighbor Dorothy O'Hara (Louise Fletcher) to free Olivia's spirit, Susan instead succumbs to Jeremiah's lustful advances. While Dorothy is nearly slain when another demon-dog materializes in her car's back seat, Mark eventually races back to reclaim his wife before Jeremiah can fashion her into a substitute for Olivia. Finally forgiving her husband, Olivia embraces Jeremiah as the Enrights dash away and their haunted bed-and-breakfast burns to the ground. Although not terribly scary, THE HAUNTING OF SEACLIFF INN unfolds in an effectively moody, slow-paced fashion. Much too chatty, it does offer logical explanations for the the so-called "supernatural" events, and also cleverly insinuates the legend of Jeremiah and Olivia into the Enrights' own troubled marital history. In its own (relatively minor) way, this eternal-love saga is as succinct and telling a condemantion of adultery as the overwrought FATAL ATTRACTION. The movie's camerawork is striking enough to persuade the audience that unseen hands are flipping switches and turning knobs for wicked supernatural purposes. With its bitter subtext about marital discontent, this ghostly love triangle supplies viewers with sufficiently creepy, "Twilight Zone"-like escapism.(Violence, sexual situations.)