Based on the novel Julia by Peter Straub, The Haunting of Julia features Farrow as Julia, a wealthy woman who must start her life again after the tragic death of her young daughter Kate (Sophie Ward). The movie starts off with a bang when a seemingly innocent breakfast turns tragic when Julia can't save her daughter from choking on a piece of apple, as she desperately tries to perform an emergency tracheotomy (apparently pre-Heimlich maneuver) while her helpless, practically useless husband Magnus (Keir Dullea) looks on.
Julia understandably flips out for a while, and when she starts to come out of her funk she jettisons her avaricious husband and moves into a creaky, quirky London house. What she doesn't know is that the house is haunted. Or is it? Are the noises and strange happenings a ghost, her ex-husband stalking her, or all in her mind?
|Mark (Tom Conti) brings a housewarming gift|
|Come to Mamma Mia: "Come ... everything's right now ... stay with me."|
Although The Haunting of Julia shares similarities to The Haunting and Don't Look Now, it is spooky and involving in its own right. The soundtrack by Colin Towns is appropriately eerie and helps take the viewer down the rabbit hole with Julia. Mia Farrow is as fragile as she should be, but the movie also presents an interesting twist on the woman in peril. Yes, she may be going a little crazy, but she is also actively trying to make changes in her life, without needing her husband or the help of any man. The character of Mark is a friend, and a sounding board, but he is little help in her supernatural investigations, and not a true or typical romantic interest. What drives Julia and the movie, as it did in Rosemary's Baby, is Julia's identity as a mother. She will fight to help a child, real, imaginary, or ghost, whatever the consequences.