Let’s stare into the void of filmmaking.
The Haunting is a remake of a 1963 film of the same name. If you haven’t you should totally check out my awesome review where I discussed how much I hated that version.
This time we follow Dr. Marrow (Liam Neeson) who lives in some sort of alternate dimensions where researchers are able to just fuck off on any sort of regulation. He wants to trick people into coming into the most garish and try-hard haunted house to see how they react to being scared for reasons.
Nell (Lili Taylor) is once again our lead, and this time we have a more consistent Theo (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and this version of Luke (Owen Wilson) didn’t make me want to eat broken glass… so I guess the characters are better?
Before you accidentally think this might be a positive review, let me be clear: this movie is an abomination and should have never been made. Whatever the hell happened on set is completely beyond me. Scenes of just… nothing… everywhere!
At least with this film we can tell where it went wrong. There is such an emphasis on the special effects that they decided to back burner any sort of storytelling or world building. The mansion (Hill House) is absurd this time around; complete with dozens of gaudy statues, bizarre architecture, and an overall feeling of trying too hard to make it seem like a creepy atmosphere. Everything here is built for a vessel for a special effect. Ghosts in big curtains, or moving busts of children, or a statue that comes to life. The why behind any of this simply doesn’t matter.
None of the characters have enough charm to carry the show, and they aren’t much better in the group. This time they didn’t make Nell crazy to start with, but we get that good old “this person must be crazy despite finding a ledger with the names of dead children and whatnot.” To be fair to everyone else, Nell doesn’t do herself any favors as she chooses to say, “home is where the heart is” instead of “I found a goddamn skeleton in the fucking fireplace and it is still there.”
The only important question here is which version is actually worse. I’m not sure. The idea of rating one of these films as better than the other gives (even a situational) approval of one of these movies. Honestly, they both represent the worst of horror in many ways. We have stupid characters interacting with a stupid house and throughout it all we feel a little dumber for participating.
Why is Liam Neeson in so many bad movies??
I see no redemption in this film. To make it work they would have had to gut everything. At least the earlier one has the excuse of limited technology and budget constraints. This bloated pile of garbage is shockingly boring.
I know I haven’t talked about the plot and that is because it sucks. Idiot takes people to a supposedly haunted house that is actually haunted. Dude who built the house was a royal bastard who killed kids. Now Nell must save the kids…despite them being dead. (Sure, the whole save the souls thing and whatever, but this seems to be a side thought for Nell).
This movie sucks. Don’t waste your time.