The Seventh Victim

Director: Mark Robson
Year Released: 1943
Rating: 2.5

Pure, soft-spoken schoolteacher (Kim Hunter, pre-Ape) tries to find - and find out what happened to - her vampish sister, who has fallen in with a group if well-dressed devil worshippers in Greenwich Village (she could have fallen in with the Nihilists in SoHo but it somehow seemed less exotic). One of famed producer Val Lewton's most widely praised B-pictures, it's certainly more successful at building - and sustaining - an atmosphere of dread and dreariness than sorting out much of its convoluted storyline and logical gaps or uneven performances - I've seen the word 'poetic' describe this in more than one review, which might be a better way of thinking of it than a straightforward story with all the ends neatly tended to. I imagine these films of Lewton's - including Cat People, The Leopard Man and so on - reward re-watchings, as one becomes more aware of the stories themselves and can better focus on the technique, though I still find movies like Dreyer's Vampyr and Murnau's Nosferatu to be better example of outright 'horror' (this is more of a suspense picture). Regardless, that last shot is very creepy.