* Prices may differ from that shown
Having escaped from the house on Haunted Hill some years before, Sara is found dead, having apparently committed suicide. Her sister Ariel, who has long thought Sara was mentally ill, is devastated, and returns home with friend Paul. She is approached by Professor Richard, who wants to get hold of Sara's diary, hoping that as a result, he will be able to trace a statue linked to the house. But then Ariel and Paul are kidnapped by a group of treasure hunters who also want to trace the statue, and together they go back to the house on Haunted Hill, only to meet the Professor and his colleagues there. Before they know what is happening, the house locks down and ghosts of former mental patients begin to wreck havoc with the new inmates. Will any of them manage to escape alive? And will the statue be found?
In case anyone makes the same mistake that I made, it is important to note that this 2007 film is the sequel to the 1999 House on Haunted Hill which is loosely based on the 1959 classic of the same name (in other words, it's an attempt to make money out of the original). Not realising this, I presumed that this film would be a sequel to the 1959 version, which I loved, and didn't realise that it would have made more sense to watch the 1999 re-make first. However, it isn't all that hard to follow the story as it is - the plot isn't exactly the most complicated I have ever come across. Although if you take my advice, you will stick to the original and will stay clear of House on Haunted Hill 1999 and its sequel.
As often happens with horror films, characterisation is really not the strongpoint of the film (not that it really has any strongpoints). Amanda Righetti plays Ariel and just about manages to keep her head above water. She isn't a particularly likeable character, especially when you consider that she ignored her sister Sara when she was in her hour of need, and I found it hard to care much what happened to her. Her friend Paul, played by Tom Riley, was clearly there to add a love interest, but is a largely pointless role. Steven Pacey as the Professor is terrible - the man can't act for toffee - and the bad guy of the film, played by Erik Palladino, wasn't much better.
The only saving grace, of both the actors and the film in general, was the appearance of Andrew Lee Potts, who played one of Professor Richard's team. He's a British actor who I recognised from Primeval and he also had a role as a mailman in 1408. I wouldn't go as far as to say he gave a great performance - it was convincing enough though - but there is something about him as an actor that I like (and it's not his looks - way too short and young for me!). He brings a little bit of humour to the proceedings, reminding me of Justin Long, and was the only character for whom I had any feelings. However, I can imagine that he won't appeal to everyone; he's rather a love or hate sort of actor.
The plot is absolutely rubbish; in fact, I cannot remember the last time I watched such a terrible story, and I watch a great deal of absolute nonsense. I hated the whole statue angle, which seemed to be an attempt to mix a bit of sci fi in with the horror, and was completely unnecessary. The ghosts in the house are those of mental patients who were tortured to death in the house, which was previously a mental institution, and I think the script writer should have concentrated on that rather than weave the statue thread in along with it. As it is, neither storyline is worth concentrating on and I found myself bored from start to finish.
The special effects are reasonable. There is a fair amount of gore, including watching a man having his brains scooped out and another having his intestines ripped out, which is generally convincing. Another man explodes when his arms and legs are pulled in opposite directions - this isn't so convincing, especially when all that is left appears to be blood and the odd chunk of matter. The ghosts are vaguely frightening, with wide staring eyes, but there is nothing particularly impressive about them. There is also a lot of nudity; in an apparent attempt to sex up the film, there is a girly three-some at one point, although they don't do much but rub their breasts against each other. This is most definitely not a film for the children, hence the rating of 18.
The cinematography is strange to say the least. I hated the colour scheme, which is dull - greens and browns with the occasional splash of red blood. I'm sure it was supposed to represent the fact that the house is derelict, apart from the ghosts, but it didn't draw me into the film at all, and just seemed to exacerbate the general tone of dullness. I was left with an overwhelming feeling of relief that the whole thing had ended.
There are a number of special features. Firstly, a set of 'confessionals', which is basically an opportunity for each of the characters to speak about how they ended up in the haunted house. It's done in character, which is quite a novel way of doing things - had I cared at all about the characters and had wanted a bit more character development, it would have been very interesting. As it is, the only one I enjoyed was the one with Andrew Lee Potts. There's a featurette about the statue, with Professor Richard in character - like the film, it's rather dull. Then (God help us all) there's a set of additional scenes - so not necessary. Finally, there's a music video by a band called Mushroomhead - the accompanying video seems to be an excuse to show the nastiest parts from the film again.
In case you haven't got the point yet, I thought this film was a pile of pants. I have an extremely high tolerance for rubbish horror, often finding it amusing even if it's not supposed to be, but in this case, I just couldn't summon up the energy. If you find the title intriguing, stick to the original 1959 film which, although dated, is very entertaining and stars the fabulous Vincent Price. This is just dull dull dull, and if it hadn't been for Andrew Lee Potts, I would probably have switched off long before the end. Absolutely not recommended.
The DVD is available from play.com for £8.99 - personally, I think they should pay us to watch it.
Running time: 81 minutes
This film was a complete and utter let down! If you read my review of #1, you'll know how much i loved it. As the back of the dvd says 'The house has a second story, even more terrifying than the first'. Its lying!
Sara, one of the survivors from the 1st films is still pretty messed up from her experience at the house 8 years ago. After calling her sister Ariel (who doesnt answer), she's found dead. Ariel thinks Sara is a bit mental and doesnt really know what she's talking about so doesnt want much to do with her. Ariel feels pretty bad that she didnt return her sisters call now!
Sara had been writing a journal about the house. Here come the cheesy treasure hunters and where the story just gets silly. Desmond, the leader of the treasure hunters kidnaps Ariel and her photographer friend Paul because he thinks Ariel will know where this statue he wants is.
They all go into the house and begin looking for the statue but strange things start happening (of course) and we are once again joined by our friend Dr Vannacutt and the other people that have died in the house.
I think there were only a couple of times in this film where i jumped a little bit but it certainly didnt give me nightmares. The story and the acting were both incredibly bad. There is, however, a lot of blood and gore which is why it got an 18 rating so its not really for the easily grossed out. I think this film was more a comedy than a horror!! I bought it because i cant have a film without the sequal..it messes up my dvds. I guess i have a bit of OCD when it comes to this but ive only ever watched it once. Im just glad it was cheap.
As a sequel to a rather weak remake it was a pretty bad idea. Establish one character who is the sister of one the original survivors of the first movie going back to the house to try to put her sisters spirit to rest.
I loved seeing Stephen Pacey on the screen again, I haven't seen him since he was Tarrant in Blakes 7.
The sets are all retained from the original remake version but they are mainly exploring parts of the house that hadn't been seen in the remake. I think fans of Silent Hill would enjoy the movie for the hospital/asylum areas of the house.
All the characters play their roles well enough and it's pretty obvious whose going to die at the start of the movie, it's just a matter of when and how.
It's not a very well known cast, initially Jeffrey Combs (playing Dr. Vannacutt) who is better known from things like the X-Files and Deep Space Nine was the only recognisable cast to me until I saw Stephen Pacey. The movie does have some fairly decent scares mostly coming from the good special effects make-up of the ghosts. By making a cast of mainly unknown actors it breaks a lot of horror conventions of being able to guess how many people will die or when.
I'd recommend it to Blakes 7 fans just for the appearance of Pacey but the mainly unknown cast do a pretty decent job.
Director Victor Garcia's direct-to-DVD follow-up to the 1999 House on Haunted Hill remake pitches a similarly dysfunctional group of nobodies against the sinister haunted hospital. With few survivors from the first film, the baton of terror passes to Ariel Wolfe, a successful publicist, whose sister was one of the few survivors of the 1999 shocker. Thrust into the hospital against her will, she is pitched against an unscrupulous collector, obsessed with an ancient artefact that may or may not reside in the basement - if they can stay alive long enough to find it.....
Sponging off the familiarity value of a sequel to a film that was a big-budget remake, Return to House on Haunted Hill is a lacklustre and often rather stupid effort that compromises style and substance in favour of blood and action. The more successful elements of the original remake are retained (including Jeffrey Combs reprising his role as the evil surgeon Richard Vannacutt with some aplomb) but the film otherwise has a cheap, superficial feel to it that will leave even the most eager genre-fans cold. The computer-generated setting seems even more fake than ever, and the stalk and slash format of characters gradually being picked off by the hospital's undead inhabitants couldn't feel any more contrived if it tried.
The gratuitousness checklist is ticked off step by step from the first, ghoulish killing, through an array of increasingly ridiculous deaths. First up is an intestinal hand-job; a young black man's stomach literally pulled out by a pair of ghostly hands. Faces are hacked off; limbs are stretched and ripped; people are burnt alive; an industrial fridge lands on someone's head and there's even a slimy pair of cavorting lesbian ghosts, taunting and enticing their victim to certain doom. There's no style to any of it and the finished product is like a scrapbook of horror clichés and last minute additions squeezed in to appeal to every possible fan boy. For the budget, the special effects are at times effective, but it's only really the human ghosts that have any real effect, particularly Dr Vannacutt who was the first film's most sinister asset and continues to be so here.
At just over an hour and twenty minutes in length, Return to House on Haunted Hill is refreshingly brief, meaning that the vacuous and disinterested cast of nobodies at least has little or no time to wear thin. In spite of the film's deserved 18-certificate, it's pretty hard not to laugh out loud at all the wrong times, however, as the weary director seems unable to make even the most distressing situation hysterically funny. Return to House on Haunted Hill (even the absence of a "the" in the title is extremely irritating) is certainly one for the completists only.
Return to House on Haunted Hill was released on 29th October 2007 and can be purchased new for around £9.
Return to House on Haunted Hill, directed by Víctor García, is the sequel to the 1999 remake House on Haunted Hill . Sarah Wolfe was the only living survivor from the massacre at the Vanacutt Mansion, but no one believed her claims that ghosts were responsible for the gruesome murders that took place there. Now her recent and questionable suicide leaves her sister Ariel (played by Amanda Righetti) no choice but to devote herself to finding out who - or what - was responsible for her death. Ariel discovers that Sarah sent her the diary of the sadistic Dr. Vanacutt just before she died, offering clues to the diabolical evil that resides within the house. But the diary also makes Ariel a target in a deadly treasure hunt that leads a group of unwitting victims back to the Vanacutt Mansion, reawakening the terror imprisoned within the house on the hill. This time, the house and the evil spirits inside are out to make sure that no one leaves alive.