Repulsion is a classy, truly horrific psychological drama in which Polish director Roman Polanski draws out a remarkable performance from young French thesp, Catherine Deneuve. Polanski, who wrote the original screenplay with Gerard Brach, uses his technical resources and the abilities of his thesps to build up a tense atmosphere of evil.
A notable plus is Polanski’s use of sound. There are two brief sequences, for instance, when the young heroine tosses in her bed as she listens to the muted sound of her sister and her lover in the next room. The moans and ecstatic whimperings of the love act is a dozen times more effective and sensual than any glimpse of the lovers in bed.
Deneuve is a youngster working in a beauty shop, a deliberately sharp contrast to the drab apartment which she shares with her flighty elder sister. The girl is sexually repressed, deeply attracted to the thought of men but at the same time loathing the thought of them. Her daydreaming grows into erotic sexual fantasies, and when her sister and boyfriend leave her for a few days while they go on an Italian vacation, her loneliness and imagination take hold and insanity sets in.
Deneuve, without much dialog, handles a very difficult chore with insight and tact. John Fraser plays her would-be boyfriend likeably.