THE SHOUT (1978) Reviews and overview



The Shout is a 1978 British horror film directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, based on a short story by Robert Graves, adapted for the screen by Michael Austin.

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A mysterious travelling man (Alan Bates) invades the lives of a young couple, played by Susannah York and John Hurt. The latter is a composer, who experiments with sound effects and various electronic sources in his secluded Devon studio.

The couple provides hospitality to Bates, but his intentions are gradually revealed as more and more sinister. He claims he has learned from an Aboriginal shaman how to produce a “terror shout” that can kill anyone who hears it unprotected…

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“One of the film’s greatest achievements is the way in which it makes such quintessential symbols of Englishness […] a puzzling and ambiguous film that doesn’t seem to have any clear motivations but is more about creating a disquieting atmosphere – the slow pace certainly adds to the mood of intimate awkwardness.” Electric Sheep

The Shout is a beautifully directed, gorgeously shot (by Mike Molloy) and artfully told tale that will annoy anyone looking for a more straightforward story. Skolimowski may have the answers to the film’s many mysteries but he’s never revealed them and nor should he. The film can be read in many different ways and what you make of Crossley’s story, the head-scratching ending and the film’s many fantastical diversions is up to the individual viewer.” The EOFFTV Review

“What makes the movie terrifying is the way in which the outback magic is introduced so naturally into the placid fabric of village life. There are scenes, for example, in which York reverts to an aboriginal state and scuttles on all fours through her cluttered little kitchen, looking for the man who, by possessing her shoe buckle, possesses her soul.” Roger Ebert

“Skolimowski’s film is an uncomfortable and unsettling viewing experience but also compulsively watchable and demands to be seen more than once.” Julian Grainger, Ten Years of Terror, FAB Press, 2001




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