The Appointment (1982) – Film Review
Director: Lindsey C. Vickers
Cast: Edward Woodward, Jane Merrow, Samantha Weysom
By Sarah Morgan
While some directors explode on the screen in a blaze of glory and continue to make film after film, others shine only briefly before disappearing from view.
One who, sadly, fell into the latter category is Lindsey C Vickers. In 1982, when The Appointment, his only feature-length movie, was released, he was a veteran of the British film industry, having gained experience via numerous titles, including several Hammer horrors.
According to an interview on this new Blu-ray release, most of his work is sadly uncredited, he was so low down in the pecking order. But clearly it was all crucial to his development because The Appointment is one of the most unusual yet fascinating offerings I’ve seen in a long time.
It’s often said that fathers and daughters share a special bond, but it’s one that Edward Woodward’s character, Ian, would probably rather not have had with his own little girl if he’d been aware of how it would end.
Joanne (Samantha Weysom) is 14 and something of a loner. However, she’s a talented violinist who is due to appear in an important concert. She’s desperate for Ian to witness it, so is devastated when he says he’s been called away to attend an important work-related event.
Joanne kicks up a fuss that appears to be just a run-of-the-mill teenage tantrum, but after Ian and his wife (Jane Merrow) begin having strange dreams involving a car crash and rottweilers, it becomes clear that their darling daughter isn’t the quiet wallflower they believed her to be…
The Appointment has been described as a horror, but it’s far more than that. It’s psychologically unsettling, with some extraordinary set-pieces and genuinely disturbing moments.
“Unseen for decades”
Nothing is really fully explained, which leaves viewers with plenty to think about after the final credits have rolled – indeed, a full 24 hours after watching it for the first time, I’m still mulling over certain scenes, unable to shake them from my thoughts.
It’s also important to mention the shocking prologue, which Vickers was forced to add in order to appeal to TV companies who may want to show it – they needed a hook that would grab an audience’s attention and keep them watching rather than switching over. He certainly managed that and then some.
Largely unseen for decades, this is a film to be savoured and rewatched – it’s sure to reveal new things on repeated viewings. Also included in a myriad of special features is Vickers’ short film ‘The Lake’, which is equally as haunting. What a shame he didn’t go on to do more.
● Presented on Blu-ray in Standard Definition
● Newly recorded audio commentary by director Lindsey Vickers
● Vickers on Vickers (2021, 41 mins): the director looks back on his life and career
● Another Outing (2021, 16 mins): Jane Merrow recalls co-starring in The Appointment
● Appointments Shared (2022, 7 mins): Lindsey and Jan Vickers remember the making of the ‘haunted film’
● Framing The Appointment (2022, 19 mins): Lindsey Vickers recalls making the film
● Remembering The Appointment (2022, 10 mins): assistant director Gregory Dark shares his recollections of the film
● The Lake (1978, 33 mins): Lindsey Vickers’ eerie short finds young lovers choosing to picnic at a spot haunted by echoes of a violent event
● Newly recorded audio commentary on The Lake by Lindsey Vickers
● Splashing Around (2020, 18 mins): actor Julie Peasgood on making The Lake
● Galleries featuring annotated scripts, storyboards, images and production materials
● Newly commissioned sleeve art by Matt Needle
The Appointment is released on Blu-ray by the BFI, £19.99