Communion (1989)

communion poster 1989 movie
3.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 2/10
Visuals: 5/10

A couple of creepy moments

Walken makes this movie crash and burn

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Communion

Studio:  New Line Cinema

Genre(s):  Drama/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror

Release Date(s):  November 10, 1989

MPAA Rating:  R

communion alien dance party

Ain’t no party like an alien dance party!

Writer Whitney Strieber (Christopher Walken), his wife Anne (Lindsay Crouse), and their son Andrew (Joel Carlson) head to the countryside with their friends.  When a mysterious event occurs during the night, none of the party can remember what actually happened.  Strieber finds himself haunted by images of aliens and strange experiments and slowly discovers that it might not be a dream…nor the first time it occurred.  With help from a psychiatrist named Janet Duffy (Frances Sternhagen), Strieber attempts to find what is happening to him as the horror that it might be happening to Andrew as well is revealed.

communion grasshoppers on bus

I’ll catch the next bus

Directed by Philippe Mora, Communion is an extra-terrestrial science-fiction psychological thriller.  The movie is an adaptation of Whitney Strieber’s 1987 book Communion:  A True Story.  The movie was a box office flop and received negative reviews from many critics who were critical of Walken’s performance.  Since the film’s release, Communion has gained a small following.

I was big into aliens and alien abductions when I was growing up, and Communion was a great book on the subject if as Mulder said you “want to believe”.  The creepy alien painted cover became synonymous with the imagery of aliens.  Unfortunately, the movie just misses the mark of what could have been a more terrifying story, and Strieber himself was unhappy with the result.

communion alien steambath whitley strieber christopher walken

Alien steambath? Count me in!

The book Communion feels like a combination of a horror story combined with Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  The abductions are scary until they are understood and the movie kind of attempts this, but instead ends up being a mess.  The movie has some moments of terror that work (I was creeped out by the “I can see you” scene in which he can see an eye peaking around the door).  Walken however derails any sense of terror or wonder from the script.

It is as if the director said to Walken:  “Do what you want.”  Walken takes advantage of this and goes full Walken.  He is crazy throughout the film and remains crazy through the ending.  He is doing his typical Walken style of acting with no inhibitions of the script.  It is way too much for the role and add to it scenes where he is a swami and other oddities, it just means more scenes for him to ham it up…it comes off as more of an SNL performance than a dramatic performance.

communion alien face removed

Ummm…what’s happening?

The visuals of the movie are naturally scary to me but don’t go far enough.  I always thought the “grey” aliens were scary this movie is loaded with them…but they are sometimes doing a ridiculous dance.  The squatter aliens look like a Jim Henson creation that doesn’t quite fit in the movie.

Communion is a pretty bad film that’s few good moments are outweighed by the bad.  Walken is out of control in the movie and any hope the movie had to scare or explore the subject was stopped by this.  I don’t know that Communion could have worked since it is a film based on an author’s speculation and what the speculation means, but this movie sure wasn’t the answer.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response