(based on his novel):
its unique subject matter and cerebral approach, Altered States
turns out to be a messy, unwholesome and ultimately kitschy movie. Professor
Eddie Jessup wraps things up in a painful final scene in which director
concludes an otherwise alternative film with the mushiest of clichés.
With that said, the film wouldn't have been memorable had it kept its
initial tone either. The writing simply isn't good enough. Paddy
Chayefsky is said to have disowned the movie before its release, and
whether the reason was that he was unhappy with his own work or with
Russell's realization of it, one can't help but understand him. The
script misses the mark in crucial scenes, and as a result, Altered
States can't maintain the level of suspense that would have made it
a real chiller. William Hurt shows potential in his feature film debut,
but would go on to far better performances in the following years. Look
for little Drew Barrymore as the daughter.