“ Genre: Horror / Theatrical Release: 1999 / Suitable for 12 years and over / Director: Jan de Bont / Actors: Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, Lili Taylor, Bruce Dern ... / DVD released 2000-11-27 at Dreamworks Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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(also posted by me on Freeola) If you're looking to remake one of the scariest horror movies of time, it's probably not a good idea to put the remake in hands of an action movie director. Especially when the movie in question, The Haunting, is scary because of what it leaves to your imagination. But alas, that thought didn't occur to Dreamworks, the company responsible for the remake of the aforementioned haunted house movie. They gave it to Jan De Bont, the man responsible for such films as Speed, Twister and, er, Speed 2. So it's not surprising that not only is the movie not even in the same league as the original, it's one of the worst 'horror' movies you're ever likely to see. The movie starts like the original movie did, in fact as many horror movies do, with several characters finding themselves in a haunted house. In this case, they're there to prove whether or not supernatural phenomeon exist. They don't have long to wait, as odd things start happening straight away. - Like sculptures coming to life and their faces follow people around the room. Or a giant ten foot ghost charging after the cast. Oh, and Owen Wilson getting decapitated by a stone fire-guard. Yes, I swear I'm not making this up. I, and quite a few members of the audience, laughed out loud when Mr Wilson met his gruesome demise. It was certainly the highlight of the film for me. Unintentional hilarity aside, The Haunting really has nothing at all going for it. It's not scary - at all - and it's a textbook example of how not to make a horror film. And the ending is as utterly predictable as can be. Thankfully, Jan De Bont hasn't been let near a horror movie since then, which is definitely a good thing. If he got his hands on The Grudge, he'd have ended the movie with a kung-fu fight between one of the main characters and the ghost - but that's only a small mercy. Given that the original The Haunting is still available on DVD, and is superior in every way, there's absolutely no reason to watch this mess.
I remember watching this when I was still at school and thinking what a good film it was. Therefore when I remembered about it last week I made it my quest to hunt it down so I could watch it again. I looked online but it was costing at least £5 for the DVD, the film is over 10 years old so I really couldnt justify spending that much when money is so tight at the moment so I added it to my DVD rental basket and was delighted when it arrived within a few days. Although I watched this on DVD this is a film only review as I never bother with any extras. *Plot* We are introduced to Nell, a woman in her 20's whose mother has recently died. She doesnt seem to have anything to do with her life now that her mother has gone and is in a battle with her sister about who will receive her late mothers flat. After a heated argument one day, the telephone rings. It is a doctor telling her to look at his ad in the local paper. She looks immediately and see's that they are looking for insomniacs and are paying $900 a week. Since cash is tight and Nell has nothing else to do she decides to apply, not thinking for one moment she will get on the course. However, she does and a few weeks later she finds herself travelling to Hill House, where the experiment is going to take place. When she arrives she is puzzled to see that the gate is padlocked up. However, a man soon comes to unlock it and she meets the housekeeper. The housekeeper insists on telling Nell that nobody would be able to hear them at night if they needed help as nobody will go near the place. This doesnt really worry Nell but she does wonder why she keeps repeating herself, emphasising her point. Soon the other members of the experiment turn up and Nell is left to introduce herself and try and find out some of the history of Hill House, is everything as it seems? *Opinion* The main reason I wanted to see this film again is because I remembered it being brilliant when I was younger! The film lived up to my memory and I am pleased to say that both me and my partner really enjoyed it. The film doesnt come across as too dated and it certainly doesnt seem as though it is ten years old. The characters and costumes could be easily accepted today and because of the setting of Hill House, there is no real giveaways that the film was made ten years ago. The film centres around Nell but I couldnt help but think that she was ever so slightly annoying! The character of Theo, played by Catherine Zeta Jones was much more appealing in my opinion and seemed to be much more normal. There was just something from the start about Nell that just wasnt quite right. The special effects in this film were done really well and there were numerous times when I found myself jumping because of the action in the film. The acting was good, Liam Neeson wasnt particularly brilliant though and seeing a number of his films I was actually quite disappointed by his performance in this. The plot of the film was well thought out and quite easy to follow. The ending was done very well and it wasnt how I expected the film to end. I would watch this film again as it was just as good as I remember it being ten years ago! *Additional Information* The film was made in 1999. It stars Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta Jones, Lili Taylor, Owen Wilson and Bruce Dern. It was directed by Jan De Bont. It runs for 138 minutes and is rated a 12 in the UK which I think is a fair rating. *Summary* Rent the DVD if you havent seen this already.