Horror Movie Review: Alison’s Birthday (1981)

The movie begins by introducing us to 16-year old Alison (Joanne Samuel) who is doing what all teenage girls seem to do in horror, playing with a Ouija board with her friends. The trio end up contacting a spirit who possess one of the girls and gives Alison a warning.

It’s a simple one; don’t return home for her 19th birthday. The spirit then reveals that it is her father who Alison never met. You see her parents died before she even knew them. She has been cared for by her Aunt and Uncle ever since.

Years later and nearing Alison’s 19th birthday, she gets a phone call. One from her Aunt (Bunney Brooke) asking her to come home to celebrate it. Alison remembers the warning but her loyalty towards her Aunt and Uncle (John Bluthal) is enough to convince her to go. However, she asks her boyfriend Pete (Lou Brown) to come with her.

Once home, her Aunt and Uncle are overjoyed to have her there and plan to throw her a huge birthday bash on the big day. However, Alison isn’t having such a great time in the days leading up to it. First she discovers a kind of stone circle/altar in the backwoods of her Aunt and Uncle’s place.

Then she begins to have nightmares. If all that wasn’t bad enough she is woken one night to find a relative she never knew she had staring at her. This is Grandmother Thorn, a very elderly woman who is mostly bedridden.

All the warning signs are there and they continue to increase the closer we get to Alison’s birthday. Just what is going to happen on the big day?

You’d have to be asleep to not put two and two together. Meaning the big reveal finale just doesn’t cut it. This probably wouldn’t be so bad if we had something more enjoyable then just an ok horror movie but we don’t.

The cast are decent though with even a couple of standout performances from Lou Brown in particular. His role as Alison’s boyfriend seems nothing but filler. However, he takes on a bigger and meatier part as the film progresses. It’s him you’ll remember even over lead Joanne Samuel. She’s fine as Alison but she just doesn’t leave much of an impression either way.

As horror goes, there’s not much to go on here. There’s not much in the way of scares. While the film does have some occasional tension building moments it rarely pays off in a really satisfying way.

Simply put, attending Alison’s birthday will leave no lasting impact. You’ll have an alright time. Maybe a bit of fun here and there but you’ll be tucked up in bed by 10pm. Having left early out of boredom.


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Alison's Birthday
  • The Final Score - 5/10
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