Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Mini-Review - "Family Plot" (1976)
For being the final Alfred Hitchcock outing, this was a fine way to go out.
"Family Plot" follows a "median" and her taxi-driver boyfriend, who scam widows and old ladies by claiming to talk to dead relatives so that they can be at peace. One of their most recent clients was a woman who offered to give the couple $10,000 if they found the long-lost heir to her families fortune. For a while, all of their sources turn up that this man, Edward Shoebridge, has been dead for over 15 years, until they find out that his grave has no body inside and that he doesn't have a death certificate. What they find out does seem to get the attention of a local thief and his accomplice though, who think the median is trying to stop their crime spree.
"Family Plot" is a serviceable film. It is captivating from the beginning, with its intriguing plot of a couple of actors who pretend to be psychic so that they don't go hungry, while also having the plot of the thieves that keep outwitting the cops. However, the characters aren't exactly memorable and don't do anything too spectacular that I can recall. I was invested in all the characters' struggles, but what they did was very by-the-numbers.
It has many of the classic Hitchcock tropes, but they're played down here. The suspense kicks up during the second half of the film once the thieves start to catch on and try to stop the other couple. This leads to an exciting sequence where the couple are returning from the top of a mountain, only to find out quickly that their brakes are broken and begin to speed up down the mountain.
Scenes like that are why I had fun with "Family Plot," but there were only so many of them. This is a one-time watch film to save for a rainy day. It certainly was not bad, but there was nothing too spectacular about it either.
Final Grade: B-