The Haunting (1999) Halloween Advent

Rating 12
Length 2h05
Release 24.9.1999
Director Jan de Bont
About Dr Marrow enlists Theo, Luke and Nell for a study of sleep disorders at the Hill House. As soon as the terrifying truth about the mansion is revealed, everyone is found fighting for their lives.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Netflix
Trailer:

Trick

  • The CGI has not aged well. 1999 was a time in which CGI had become common place, but the work wasn’t given the money it really required to get it up to the standards set by Jurassic Park. The result is something that is added to, rather than blended into the film’s environment.
  • Nell being a relation of someone in the house was poorly executed. Something shouldn’t come from left field like this does. While the ‘Welcome home Elenore’ hints at a connection, everyone is dismissing it as a prank. What was needed was some more hints so it didn’t feel like a last minute addition to the story.
  • There’s a real lack of a body count and it doesn’t gel with what is presented. It gives the film a messy feel. Which can be explained when you discover that Spielberg took over editing duties from the director.
  • As previously mentioned, this film is messy. Its a plot that lacks any smooth transition from act to act. The finished piece is more like a jigsaw puzzle missing half of its parts.

Treat

  • The set design of the house is stunning. Every inch of the building and sets are beautiful and meticulously created. The scale of the glasshouse and the pond really must have been amazing on a big screen.
  • Catherine Zeta Jones’ Theo is bi-sexual. It was possible the first time I’d see that sort of representation and it was certainly the first time I’d seen a character’s sexuality mentioned without it being directly connected to the plot.
  • Liam Neeson and Owen Wilson are brilliant. In a pre-Taken role, this was possibly the first thing I remember seeing him in outside of Phantom Menace. I know he was in things, it just wasn’t stuff I’d seen or remembered him in.
    Baby faced Owen Wilson perhaps isn’t someone you would automatically think of for a horror movie, but he holds his own and certainly seems to enjoy being a part of the film.

Final Thoughts

It’s one of those films I don’t really like, but I rewatch in the hope something has changed. It never does.

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