Haunting, The


Spooky Atmosphere

Main Cast: Lili Taylor, Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson

Director: Jan de Bont

The Haunting is a pretty good haunting tale of a house gone bad, it certainly doesn’t go overboard with the shock-a-rama! blood sports of recent slasher tales. It proceeds cautiously, ramping up the action in a well-calculated rhythm. The story? Well, we have Dr. Maggot (Neeson) who is trying to figure out why we have fear. So he decides to bring together three insomniacs in a stealth study about their condition, but really wants to scare them and see how they react. We have Eleanor (Taylor), a passive woman who has just been tossed out of her apartment after taking care of her sick (now dead) mother for all her life; Theo (Zeta-Jones), an aggressive hedonist who really is a nice gal at heart; and Luke (Wilson), a rather nerdy and high-strung college student who seems to have been through many of these studies before, and is suspicious.

The doctor greets them all at a spooky old mansion and gives them a little of its history. Then he sits back to watch them. But something else seems to be going on, something that only Eleanor grasps. Weird things happen to her, and at first it happens only to her when everyone else is out of the room, and could it be her imagination? (I leave it to the viewer to find out if this is the case.)

All in all, this is a solid film, good in plot and acting, with the horror building slowly until the action-filled conclusion. Worth renting, it will help pass a few hours late at night when you want to have a scare or three.

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