New York Times - 02/06/1987
"...A hair-raising treat....The direction gives the material a wicked edge..."
Variety - 02/04/1987
"...Mary Steenburgen is first-rate....Engrossing camera angles....[And a] compelling score..."
Los Angeles Times - 02/06/1987
"...Steenburgen shines in all her contrasting portrayals, and she receives fine support from Rubes..."
Mary Steenburgen plays multiple characters in this chilling horror story by Arthur Penn. A struggling actress takes a role for a producer at his isolated mansion. Upon her arrival, things begin to get strange. She is never fully explained the extent of her role by the aging producer or his assistant. As the days pass and the behavior of the producer becomes increasingly suspicous, the actress suspects that there is something sinister afoot. Trapped in a faraway mansion with no one to help her, she must call upon every ounce of her wit and talent to survive.
In a remote house in the wintry countryside, an actress rehearses a great role with a movie producer and his assistant. As she mimics the gestures and expressions of the actress she is presumably replacing, she realizes that the producer is not whom he pretends to be and circumstances are not what they seem. Caught in a trap, she has no choice but to give the performance of her life in order to save herself. Roddy McDowall is chilling as the butler-assistant, and Mary Steenburgen succeeds immeasurably in her mutliple roles. Director Arthur Penn (LITTLE BIG MAN, BONNIE AND CLYDE) uses all the tricks of old horror films as well as some new ones to create an increasing sense of claustrophobia as the heroine becomes aware that she has been trapped. DEAD OF WINTER is an eerie film with enough dark mood, shocks, and plot twists to satisfy any lover of mystery. It's an exciting, fun departure from Penn in the style of such films as DEATHTRAP and MISERY.
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