“The movie's best actors remind one of the sunny, unpretentious portrayals in Close Encounters and Jaws, especially Jobeth Williams, who, with her crinkly grin and her ambling, shrugging grace, pulls out all the stops. When the film is goofy and likable, so is she. But when the creatures take her baby, she becomes motherhood transfigured, and though her wailings and pleadings are almost too showy, she moves you. In one scene, she senses the spirit of Carol Anne passing through her like a wave, and as her air blows in some phantasmal wind, she cries, "I felt her … I can smell her … She went through my soul!" She knows she's talking nonsense, but Williams plays the scene with a glow that convinces us nothing else matters: this woman has just felt something extraordinary, and she's felt it with every atom of her being.
As Steve, hulking Craig T. Nelson is, in a quieter way, almost as good. And there's a striking and amateurish yet apt performance by a dwarf named Zelda Rubinstein, who has the crowd-pleasing role of a psychic as spooky as the ghosts she's gunning for….
Boston Phoenix, June 15, 1982