No one can ever forget the faces of fear Shelley Duvall conjured as Wendy, the terrorized wife of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror masterpiece The Shining. But after a string of star turns in now-classic movies throughout the 1980s and beyond, she all but disappeared from the acting spotlight.
Now Duvall is back after a 20-year acting hiatus, choosing a small-budget indie horror flick as the place to emerge, with what The Hollywood Reporter describes as a “cameo” appearance. At least it’s high-impact; as the NSFW trailer for The Forest Hills below teases, her character’s first words are an urgently-screamed plea to her adult son, Rico (Chiko Mendez), a soul-searching burnout who incidentally might also be moonlighting as a werewolf.
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“You’re a f***ing murderer, Rico!” wails a distressed Duvall, leaving us to wonder just how deeply the rest of the film might explore her apparently small role as an exasperated mother. If you spied a pair of other familiar acting faces in the clip, your eyes aren’t deceiving you; both Terminator 2: Judgment Day’s Edward Furlong and 1980s genre star Dee Wallace (who played Elliot’s mother in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial as well as the female lead in a string of 1980s horror hits) are both key players in the film’s tiny cast.
Though Furlong and Wallace have remained active with parts in lower-profile projects in recent years, Duvall has been entirely absent from screen projects of any sort since her last film role, playing a detective in the 2002 film festival favorite Manna From Heaven. “It was a lot of fun and I’m excited to be back,” Duvall shared with THR of her surprise return in The Forest Hills, written and directed by Scott Goldberg (who previously worked in a series of short horror films before producing and directing the docudrama Off The Grid: Survivalism and Frugality at Amazon Prime.)
The movie itself is all about Rico (Chico Mendez), who's “tormented by nightmarish visions after enduring head trauma while camping in the Catskill woods,” as the film’s synopsis teases. “Billy (Furlong) creates a reality of horror for him by persuading Rico to go along with his beliefs which delve him deeper into despair.” Wallace plays a woman named Angela, and though the trailer doesn’t clearly define her relationship to Rico, it’s pretty plain that she shares the same basic concerns about his life choices — and his sanity — that afflict Duvall’s character.
According to the trailer, The Forest Hills will claw its way to a 2023 release, though it doesn't specify if that's in theaters or on digital. Either way, it’ll be a welcome delight to catch a trio of seldom-seen genre stars letting loose together in an unabashedly bloody horror romp.
Looking for some scares? Check out numerous horror movies streaming on Peacock.