The tense and suspenseful “Are You in the House Alone?” begins with a trauma having taken place. Gail Osborne, portrayed by Golden Globe nominee Kathleen Beller (Promises in the Dark), has been attacked. The story of what happened to her is told via flashback.
From all outward appearances, Gail is a normal teenage girl living a good life. She does well in school. Her parents, Anne and Neil, played by two time Emmy winner Blythe Danner (Huff) and Oscar winner Tony Bill (The Sting), respectively, care about her well being. Gail is close with her best friend Allison, a role acted by four time Emmy nominee Robin Mattson (All My Children). She’s also been dating Steve (Scott Colomby), who seems like a nice guy. There is, however, a problem she’s dealing with.
Gail has been receiving harassing phone calls at her house. She’s also been receiving the same sort of calls at the home where she babysits. Furthermore, threatening notes have been left at her school locker. The viewer becomes aware that Gail is being stalked, but by whom? The list of suspects includes: her photography teacher Mr. Elden (Alan Fudge), who is very complimentary to her and takes a strong interest in her work; Gail’s ex-boyfriend E.K. (Randy Stumpf) who wasn’t happy with the way their relationship ended; and Phil, portrayed by two time Golden Globe nominee Dennis Quaid (Everybody’s All American). Phil also happens to be Allison’s boyfriend. Could the stalker turn out to be her new boyfriend Steve? (As an aside: Dennis Quaid turned down the role of Bob in Halloween because he was already contractually obligated to be in “Are You in the House Alone?” The part of Bob was played by John Michael Graham, who in “Halloween” (1978) was the love interest of Lynda, a role acted by P.J. Soles (Rock ‘n’ Roll High School). Quaid and Soles got married the same year. They had no children together and divorced in 1983).
Walter Grauman (Murder, She Wrote) directed “Are You in the House Alone?” The teleplay was written by Emmy winner Judith Parker (L.A. Law), based on the novel of the same name written by Richard Peck, which was published by Viking on October 1, 1976. The movie premiered on CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) on September 20, 1978. Parts drama, horror, and thriller, it has a runtime of 96 minutes.
“Are You in the House Alone?” should keep viewers guessing for a good portion of the movie as to who Gail’s stalker is. The cast as a whole performs well in their respective roles. Being a television movie, there were limitations on what could be shown, so the movie relies on tension and suspense to advance the narrative and both are used well. As of the writing of this post, the movie can be seen on Amazon Prime.