Altered States
Altered States (1980)

In this 1980 sci-fi horror film, William Hurt plays Eddie Jessup, a scientist obsessed with discovering mankind's true role in the universe. To this end, he submits himself to a series of mind-expanding experiments. By enclosing himself… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: December 25, 1980
DVD Release Date: June 1, 2004
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Critic Score: 86% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Extraordinarily daring for a Hollywood film, Altered States attacks the viewer with its inventive, aggressive mix of muddled sound effects and visual pyrotechnics.

Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine

It opens at fever pitch and then starts soaring -- into genetic fantasy, into a precognitive dream of delirium and delight.

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Jennifer Selway
Time Out

[Director] Russell's noisily grandiose swipe at psychedelia embellishes what is no more than the cosily familiar story of the obsessive Scientist Who Goes Too Far and Unwittingly Unleashes, etc.

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Ian Nathan
Empire Magazine

It's got Russell's trademark eccentricity (read: slight bonkers-ness) all over it, which you may take as a warning or a recommendation.

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Variety Staff

Direction by Ken Russell has energy to spare, with appropriate match-up of his baroque visual style to special effects intensive material.

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

I was overwhelmed, I was caught up in its headlong energy.

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Alan Jones
Radio Times

Russell's razzle-dazzle hallucinogenic style certainly hits bullseye.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

There isn't a lucid moment in it (and much of the dialogue is rendered unintelligible by Russell's subversive direction), but it has dash, style, and good looks, as well as the funniest curtain line since Some Like It Hot.

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Janet Maslin
New York Times

Dependably -- even exhilaratingly -- bizarre. Its strangeness, which borders cheerfully on the ridiculous, is its most enjoyable feature.

Jon Fortgang

Like much of Russell's work, Altered States is ostentatious and pretentious yet genuinely engaged with ideas and style.

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More reviews for Altered States

Flixster Audience Score: 71% Flixster User Reviews
Directors Cat
Robert C
Not one of my favorite Russell films, but interesting. I'm tempted to read the source material (novel by Paddy Chayefsky) as I feel that at the core of… More
Lee ?
I was a little overwhelmed with all the scientific mumbo-jumbo at first but once I got an idea of what was going on I found this to be a very interesting and… More
Greg S
A Harvard scientist takes an exotic Mexican hallucinogen inside a sensory deprivation tank, which causes him to physically regress to earlier evolutionary… More
Aj V
They might as well have called this "The Trip 2", like The Trip, this movie's character goes on a strange journey after doing weird experiments… More
Conner Rainwater
Truly horrifying and beautiful at the same time. This is one of the most bizarre viewing experiences i've ever had. The plot was smart, well planned and… More