The Haunting (1999) is an American fantasy mystery horror movie that is a remake of the 1963 movie with the same title. The 1963 and 1999 movie is based Shirley Jackson‘s novel The Haunting of Hill House. Director Jan de Bont disappointed me with his directing skills in The Haunting because he did an amazing job with Twister (1996) and Speed (1994). I thought he would have redeemed himself after he failed at executing Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) to its full potential. I am beginning to think that Jan de Bont should stick to cinematographer where he has done over 56 movies. The Haunting contains sexual content, drug use, violence, suspense, tension, frightening scenes and ghost hauntings.
The Haunting is about Eleanor Nell Vance (Lili Taylor - The Conjuring (2013), Say Anything… (1989), Ransom (1996)) who applies to an insomnia study that is directed by Dr. David Marrow (Liam Neeson - Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), Batman Begins (2005), Taken (2008)) at Hill House after receiving a phone call about it. The Hill House is in Berkshires of western Massachusetts. She meets Mr. Dudely (Bruce Dern - Nebraska (2013), Monster (2003), Django Unchained (2012)) and Mrs. Dudley (Marian Seldes - Guiding Light (1952), August Rush (2007), The Visitor (2007)) who are the caretakers and chains the gate each night, so no one goes out or comes in the house. Luke Sanderson (Owen Wilson), Theodora (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Dr. Marrow and his two research assistants arrive shortly after.
Dr. Marrow’s invited everyone for an insomnia study, but he really invited them to study their psychological response to fear. He is going to expose them to terror and see how each person reacts to it, and how much can they take individually? Dr. Marrow tells them the story of how the Hill House was built on their first night there. He told them that 19th-century textile tycoon Hugh Crain (Charles Gunning) built a house for his wife and future kids. Crain’s wife Renee could not take anymore of her kids dying during childbirth and committed suicide before the home was finished built. Dr. Marrows’ assistant face was accidentally slashed by a wire after the story was finished. He got spooked and left. Theo (Catherine Zeta-Jones - The Terminal (2004), Ocean’s Twelve (2004), Entrapment (1999)) and Nell felt as though there was an evil force trying to break into their room to harm them.
Watch the movie if you would like to find out more but I recommend saving this movie for when you have no other options. The cast did a good job with their parts, and the sets were done really well. The movie is a cliche and does not stand out from the others that are alike. I think this movie had potential if it was directed by someone who had more pizazz in them. I would not recommend this movie to true horror fans.
About The Haunting (1999)
Starring: Virginia Madsen, Liam Neeson, Owen Wilson, Sherry Lynn, Bruce Dern, Courtland Mead, Alix Koromzay, Debi Derryberry, Michael Cavanaugh, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lili Taylor, M.C. Gainey, Kyle McDougle, Marian Seldes, Hannah Swanson, Todd Field, Travis Tedford, Tom Irwin, Charles Gunning, Saul Priever, Hadley Eure, Kadina de Elejalde, Alessandra Benjamin, Karen S. Gregan, Brandon Jarrett, Mary McNeal, William Minkin, Jessica Evans, Miles Marsico, Kelsey Mulrooney
Director: Jan de Bont
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