Shock (1946)

Written by John Chard on April 3, 2019

Shock to the heart but Vinnie's not to blame.

Janet Stewert, whilst waiting to meet her returning from World War II husband, Paul, witnesses a murder. Stricken with shock, Janet is hospitalised and placed in the care of of noted psychiatrist Dr. Cross. Trouble is, is that it was Dr. Cross who committed the murder!

Vincent Price (Dr. Cross) was of course synonymous with the horror genre. A real classy actor whose ability sometimes gets forgotten due to his participation in the murder death kill part of cinematic lore. Here in this low level "B" movie we find Price the sole reason for sitting through the picture to the end. For although the premise is as solid as it gets, and the setting is ripe for dark deed like shenanigans, Shock is immeasurably dull.

Director Alfred L. Werker and his screenplay writer Eugene Ling, adapt Albert DeMond's story with the clear intention of crafting a potboiler. But sadly, in spite of Price's efforts, they forgot to turn the heat up! Full of drawn out musings that get repeated throughout, the film also feels like it's going round in circles. It's tolerable in the main because the story at least has the viewer intrigued as to the outcome, but come the tepid finale one is left with a feeling of being cheated out of a promised ignition of fuel.

As for the rest of the cast? Lynn Bari gives the only other performance of note, but it's a by the by character and nothing for her to get her teeth into. While a couple of moody scenes at the sanitarium do at least perk up the plodding story, particularly one during a thunder storm. But they are but mere false dawns.

Thankfully only running at 70 minutes, Shock doesn't take too much out of ones' life. But really it's one for Vincent Price completists only, and ultimately the film stands as a very wasted opportunity. 4/10