The Haunting (1999) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Haunting (1999) Review

Horrorific content by Yo Adrian on November 28th, 2020 | Movie Review | Psychological, Campy, Haunted House

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It's about a group of people who are paid to stay in Hill House, a haunted mansion, overnight.

The Haunting was directed by Jan De Bont and stars Liam Neeson (from After.Life), Owen Wilson (from The Minus Man and Anaconda) and Lili Taylor (from Eli and Leatherface).

Some houses are born bad.

The Haunting Review

The Haunting is a haunted house movie that's by and large about a group of insomniacs who are paid to participate in what they think will be a sleep study, but what will actually become a study of group reaction to fear. Of course, the guy who organized the secret study has no idea the place is actually haunted and poses a serious threat to everyone involved. It reminded me of the remake of House on Haunted Hill, which coincidentally came out in the same year, mainly because it also involves a group of people who are paid to stay in a haunted house overnight and is full of cheesy special effects wrapped in a ridiculous storyline. 

A woman named Shirley Jackson wrote a book called The Haunting of Hill house back in 1959. The first movie based off the book called The Haunting came out in 1963. Both the book and the movie were about a group of people with special psychic abilities who were hired to investigate the source of the supernatural events that had plagued the house since its construction. The Haunting was a damn good horror movie for its time. But then director Jan De Bont strolled in and helmed what would be his first and last horror movie. Why? Because he was bad at it. His remake changed the premise to be about a group of insomniacs who agreed to participate in a sleep study for $900. Lo and behold, the doctor conducting the study actually specializes in "fear" and wanted the participants kept in the dark so he could gauge their genuine reactions. The problem with this is once the movie started to unfold our group of insomniacs had nothing whatsoever to contribute to the story. They were just scared trapped people running around a house.

This remake of The Haunting is pretty much universally hated on. It has a 4.9 on IMDb and a dismal 16% on RT at the time of this writing. It was also heavily parodied in Scary Movie 2. I mean, half the scenes were comedy on their own. It's just a really, really dumb movie. 

Watching The Haunting is like watching two trains, each carrying way too much CGI, crashing into each other. I honestly don't know what Director De Bont was thinking.

Worth Watching?

Oh hell no. If you value your sanity even a little bit you'll stay away from this mess of a movie.

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