I enjoyed watching this 70's-era witchy film, but it suffers a bit from being dated, as well as from its flimsy plot.
First off, the strengths: all of the acting is quite good, especially for a "TV Movie"; there are some pretty remarkable special effects, especially when the nosy neighbor "blows up", literally; and it is cool to see the 1970's fashions, hairstyles, and particularly the retro decor of the house!
As for weaknesses: the plot kind of falls apart midway; some of the editing sequences seem badly jumbled; and the dialogue becomes really stilted at times.
Let's get back to the plot. Here is this young girl, who everyone is calling "fatty", "blimp", and "lard butt", etc., when in reality she's not fat at all. She merely has a few extra curves here and there. Some of the taunting and insults are exceedingly cruel -- but, confusingly, the girl looks perfectly normal. This anomaly adds to the overall implausibility of the film. Furthermore, when the young lady, and a possible accomplice, use witchcraft to take revenge, they only target one girl -- just ONE of the vicious bullies. After this one bully is violently dealt with, ALL the other bullies are immediately forgotten. What the heck? And, even more bizarrely, the "chubby" girl now begins to lash out -- supernaturally -- at her own family. Instead of teaching all the rest of the bullies a lesson, the girl now attempts to drown her 13-year-old sister, and have her dad run over by a speeding car. What the heck (again)?
Now, it is true that the accomplice may also have had a role in attacking the girl's family -- but the slender thread of the plot truly begins to unravel at this point. The attempted murders of the girl's dad and sister don't really make sense at all, especially in terms of the narrative and overall structure of the film. What, exactly, did they do to deserve death??
Another conspicuous flaw in the movie is the role of the "parapsychologist". His whole character seems very thinly developed (and unnecessary). We see him listening to cassette tapes of witchcraft spells and black magic rituals. But where, exactly, did these tapes come from? From the girl's mom? And how (and why) did that even come about? The tapes just suddenly appear, with no explanation whatsoever. And then the parapsychologist suddenly talks about "the coast being totally empowered with black magic". Huh?? Since when is "the coast" infused with black magic? It seems there are scenes missing that would help to explain these abrupt and half-baked developments, and provide some kind of logical transition. In fact, all of the parapsychologist's scenes could have been cut altogether, and the film would have been tighter, and flowed more smoothly.
And by the way, you may be amused to see that EVERYONE in this movie smokes and drinks all the time. That's the 70's for you. And who gives a damn about second-hand smoke?!
Anyway, if you can get past all of that, this is still a fun and nostalgic 1970's spook ride. There are some good twists. There are some genuinely creepy moments. And there is a pleasing sense of family closure as the film draws to an end. Also, it's fascinating to see Helen Hunt, at just 13 years old, embarking on her long film career. And Lee Grant, as the mother, is superb. Susan Myers, as the 15 year old neophyte witch, makes a very impressive debut. And James Olson (The Andromeda Strain, 1971), is effective and compelling as the bewildered dad.
All in all, this is an engaging and atmospheric supernatural thriller. It certainly held my attention. Millennials, however, may find it painfully slow and dull. But 1970's occult film enthusiasts will find a lot to like in this eerie and chilling vintage movie.