Moria describes it as "one of the most cerebral and subtle of ghost stories," and says it "remains without any question the best adaptation of the tale." Bright Lights Film Journal says, "Jack Clayton's film still manages to have its way with us, ravishing the viewer to a degree many films of its genre never dreamed possible." The Guardian calls it "An impressively creepy adaptation". Variety starts out saying it "catches an eerie, spine-chilling mood right at the start and never lets up on its grim, evil theme." The New York Times says,
Mr. Clayton and Miss Kerr have neglected to interpret the tale and character with sufficient incisiveness and candor to give us a first-rate horror or psychological film. But they've given us one that still has interest and sends some formidable chills down the spine.