Mia Farrow Battles Ghosts

Grieving over her lost child, an American wife in London falls prey to a malicious ghost in The Haunting of Julia. Starring Mia Farrow as she channels some of the same energies displayed in Rosemary’s Baby, the supernatural ghost tale is based on the novel “Julia” by scribe Peter Straub. Released over in Europe as Full Circle, the film has genuine frights but sluggish pacing. The near complete lack of a male presence and an undeveloped supporting cast marks it as one of the decade’s lesser genre experiences.

The Haunting of Julia opens with its most riveting and impactful moment. Living in London, parents Magnus (Keir Dullea) and Julia Lofting (Mia Farrow) shockingly lose their only child when the girl accidentally dies in the hands of her mother. Stricken by grief, Julia leaves Magnus and moves into a new residence. The mansion she picks has all the potential trappings of a spooky setting, including a young girl who died there many years ago under questionable circumstances. Julia starts thinking the place is possessed as she unravels the house’s dark history, possibly by her deceased child’s spirit.

The Haunting of Julia moves slowly with its thrills but does ultimately pay off

Director Richard Loncraine channels an older era of supernatural films with its turgid pacing and slow-burning story. There are genuinely chilling moments and Mia Farrow gives a realistic portrayal of a woman slowly losing it over her trauma. She’s overrated as an actress in general but brings the same intensity she had in the far more electrifying Rosemary’s Baby. Julia’s descent into paranoia and confusion is slow and steady. The best thing going for the movie is a haunting atmosphere, aided by a moody score.

The screenplay is often menacing and eerie but lacks strong supporting characters. Driven by a fairly lame mystery about children which happened decades ago in Julia’s neighborhood, the narrative forgets developing its cast beyond Julia.

A useless boyfriend character barely rates a mention, fodder for the evil spirit which dwells in the house. For good or bad, Julia dominates the narrative. That can be polarizing if the film’s slow burn and unsurprising mystery leave you cold. However, the end is a showstopper and almost worth the ride by itself.

The Haunting of Julia moves slowly with its thrills but does ultimately pay off. It’s clear Mia Farrow was cast to remind viewers of her earlier horror roles. Like Rosemary’s Baby the supernatural shenanigans are often kept in the periphery, so the terror is more harrowing psychological drama than visceral.


A new 4K restoration by Shout Factory from the original negative provides a transparent reproduction of the gritty and often gauzy cinematography by Peter Hannan in a fine 4K UltraHD release. The Haunting of Julia was filmed in anamorphic Panavision at the heights of filmmakers rebelling against the bright, clean cinematography of the 1960s. Not the first ‘70s film I’d think of for stunning HDR, there are small gains in definition and overall clarity over an included BD taken from the same basic transfer. The HEVC encode cleanly tackles the grain structure and dark lighting without artifacts.

The 2.35:1 presentation offers excellent celluloid reproduction but dense, oblique shadows are practically another character in the cast. Seen here in 12-bit Dolby Vision at 2160P resolution, it’s a film-like presentation of a 1977 movie draped in gritty picture quality. Black levels are heavy with a tiny hint of crushed delineation.

The camera negative exhibits no significant damage, nicely handled here in a color grading which doesn’t attempt to spruce up the occasionally dull contrast for modern audiences. This is exactly how the film looked upon release, brought out in greater fine detail than ever before.

Older b-movies aren’t always treated with respect but Shout Factory has approached The Haunting of Julia with a quality effort replicating its natural cinematography. Lacking in obvious eye candy, the better definition provides modest benefits over BD.


The original monaural theatrical soundtrack is heard in adequate 2.0 DTS-HD MA. A haunting orchestral score by composer Colin Towns receives a somewhat tepid mix, soft with minor phase issues. Sound comes off as low budget for its era, this is not a major Hollywood production.

The eerie happenings are sharp and often shrill, a mildly dated recording. Some hiss underlies the quieter scenes. A mostly atmospheric film with a few prominent moments, dialogue is well reproduced and always intelligible.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font inside the scope presentation.


Scream Factory puts out a 4K UltraHD and Blu-ray combo package for North America with reversible cover art featuring the original theatrical poster artwork for the film under its alternate Full Circle title. Hardcore fans will likely want BFI’s 4K UltraHD if special features are their thing, it has several exclusive featurettes found nowhere else. And if Blu-ray is fine with you, Australia’s Imprint label released it in a spectacularly packaged set with a 3D lenticular case.

Initial pressings should include a slipcover. Orders direct from Shout Factory’s website include a limited 18”x24” rolled poster while supplies last. The only bonus feature found on the UHD is the new commentary. Scream Factory has placed all bonus features on the companion BD.

Audio Commentary by director Richard Loncraine and film historian Simon Fitzjohn – A newly recorded discussion with both Loncraine and Fitzjohn which isn’t particularly hard hitting. Loncraine fondly recalls working with the cast. Definitely not a riveting chat but pleasant enough for informed listeners.

Introduction to the film by director Richard Loncraine (00:34 in HD) – A new intro by the director.

Park Life: Simon Fitzjohn revisits the locations of Full Circle (15:32 in HD) – The historian visits locations today seen in the movie.

Coming Full Circle: Tom Conti Recalls His Humble Horror Beginnings (11:00 in HD) – A new interview with the actor who played Julia’s love interest.

The Fear of Growing Up: Samantha Gates on Her Childhood Chills (10:24 in HD) – A new interview with the former child actress who portrayed Olivia in the film.

A Haunting Retrospective: Critic Kim Newman on an Underrated Ghost Story (24:47 in HD) – The familiar genre expert and author dissects the film in his usual insightful manner.

Full disclosure: This 4K UHD was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

The Haunting of Julia
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


Mia Farrow returns to horror in this ghostly mystery which recalls an older style of spooks and frights

User Review
4 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 40 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots ripped directly from the Blu-ray:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *