You won’t believe me when I tell you not to watch Shock.
Especially if you’re a Vincent Price fan. The plot alone will convince you it’s worth watching. Price plays a psychiatrist who murders his wife. Unbeknownst to him, Anabel Shaw’s character witnesses the murder from her hotel room. The sight renders her catatonic and she falls under the care of—you guessed it—Price’s character. Better still: Shaw’s character spies the murder only after waking from an anxiety-laden nightmare, calling into question her reliability as a narrator.
It could play as a cross between Rebecca and Suspicion. Instead, it plays like Double Indemnity. There’s no doubt Price’s character is guilty. He’s egged on by femme fatale Lynn Bari.
I can hear you saying to yourself, “That sounds interesting.”
I’m here to tell you, it isn’t. Price doesn’t register as charming or sinister. He has zero chemistry with Bari, who herself fails to register as seductive or cunning. This renders the entire film rather boring, which as I’ve written before, is a film’s most unforgivable sin.
But let’s face it: if you’re a Vincent Price fan, you won’t believe me. Price played this sort of role so well in so many later pictures, you can’t fathom him falling flat. To those fans, I offer this condolence: if you make it through the film, you’ll see the ending, which I found so unintentionally funny I laughed aloud. So that’s something.