The Undying is a film that tells a very simple story; thankfully, it does not pretend to be more than it is. It just quietly tells its story.
The film, marketed as a horror movie, appears at first to be exactly that. Barbara Haughton, seeking to put the tragic death of her fiancé behind her, moves to a new home to get away from the past. Soon, strange things begin to transpire as it turns out that the house is haunted by the ghost of a Civil War soldier. The film must be praised for its subtle uses of fear: there’s no blood and gore here, but uncanny occurrences — such as the reflection in a shard of glass of a man who isn’t actually there — that actually turn out to be terrifying in their realism. Soon, Barbara begins to investigate, even venturing online to search “how to help a ghost,” just as, in every scary film, the main character goes online to research the supernatural.
Then the movie takes a turn: Barbara arranges for the ghost, Elijah, to take over the body of Jason Donovan, a man who recently died in the hospital she works at. From a scary film, this movie becomes a romantic drama. Through the centuries, Barbara and Elijah reach towards each other and help each to forget their past and find love. Anyone who’s ever read anything about ghosts knows that they are usually trapped on earth through a tragic death that they must come to peace with, and such is the case here. Barbara helps Elijah accept the events that led to his end, and, in the process, finds a new life for herself.