Metascore
99

Universal acclaim - based on 8 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    Jan 14, 2014
    100
    It’s the most haunted and dreamlike of all American films, a gothic backwoods ramble with the Devil at its heels.
  2. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    Jan 13, 2014
    100
    Ignored for a long time, this film is now impossible to ignore. Mitchum is magnetic.
  3. 100
    One of the greatest of all American films, but has never received the attention it deserves because of its lack of the proper trappings. Many "great movies'' are by great directors, but Laughton directed only this one film, which was a critical and commercial failure long overshadowed by his acting career.
  4. This is the only film Laughton ever directed, and he packed it with a mixture of eerie chills, ingenious suspense, and absurdist humor. It's a genuine classic.
  5. Part fairy tale and part bogeyman thriller -- a juicy allegory of evil, greed and innocence, told with an eerie visual poetry.
  6. 100
    Laughton understood Agee's proximity to Grimm vaudeville, and fashioned the most intensely expressionistic movie of its day.
  7. 100
    An enduring masterpiece--dark, deep, beautiful, aglow.
  8. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    60
    This start for Gregory as producer and Laughton as director is rich in promise but the completed product, bewitching at times, loses sustained drive via too many offbeat touches that have a misty effect.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 65 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 2 out of 16
  1. Aug 27, 2010
    10
    One of those movies that if I had seen as a child it would have terrified me to no end, and having seen it now, it just sits eerily in the back of my mind. It is truly a perfect thriller. Full Review »
  2. Jul 10, 2012
    10
    One of cinema's miracles.
    This movie put in me in a trance mid-way. It just sucks you in. The plot, directing, acting, casting, character
    development. I could go on and on. A most classic of classic movies. Might not be for every person in the world, but, to me, this movie is just as important to cinema as The Wizard of Oz or 2001: A Space Odyssey. Right up there with them. Full Review »
  3. DHE
    Jan 8, 2011
    2
    Overall, this movie is a mess. It was badly acted, badly directed, and the plotting was plodding. Suspenseful? Give me a break. The child actors were especially annoying and the extras were just plain silly. I like classics, so it's not just that it's an old movie. This could easily be the worst movie I ever watched all the way through. I would give it a zero except for some interesting camera work (for which Laughton may or may not deserve credit). Full Review »