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What I thought of “The Haunting” remake

Updated on August 30, 2016
Charito1962 profile image

Ms. Charito is a Filipino based in Manila. She has worked as an executive assistant and a journalist. She is a widow with a grown-up son.

Like in many parts of the world, Halloween time in Manila means watching the latest horror flicks that hit the cinemas.

But films about ghouls, zombies, vampires, werewolves, slashers, and other gory stuff don't really appeal to me. Except for one - the 1999 remake of The Haunting.

This is one of the scary movies aired on TV every Halloween time. I watched it once out of curiosity, and thereafter bought a DVD copy which I added to my home viewing collection.

Surprisingly, I like rewatching The Haunting for three good reasons - a compelling story, a good cast, and great effects.

Unlike other films that tend to highlight the makeup, costumes and settings, The Haunting has successfully evoked my interest because of its storyline. I like how the suspense intensifies with each passing scene. Four people - the psychiatrist Dr. David Marrow (played by Liam Neeson), Eleanor "Nell" (played by Lili Taylor), Theo (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Luke (played by Owen Wilson) - come together at a creepy manor called "Hill House". Dr. Marrow tells the three that they are participants in his supposedly "insomnia study". But when Nell starts experiencing strange happenings in the house, she discovers that she has some connection to it, and as she goes on uncovering more secrets, she later has to battle with the evil spirit of the deceased manor owner, Hugh Crain, who apparently was a child murderer.

Dr. Marrow meets with the participants and talks about the life of Hugh Crain. Watch what the snapped clavichord wire does!

Although the director (Jan de Bont), scriptwriter (David Self) and the cast had received some negative reviews, I still think the movie was a good production. (I was surprised to see Owen Wilson perform well in a horror movie. I have seen him in comedies and heartwarming dramas.)

Frightening scenes that include the characters trying to escape Hill House and Luke (Owen Wilson) being decapitated

For one thing, the terrifying scenes don't give me nightmares. Viewing this film as an artist, I think the DreamWorks CGI effects were brilliantly made, as they are much like the style of Steven Spielberg. These are evident in the scenes where an arm stretches out from the door, the sculptures move, the statue in a pool of water vomits blood and attempts to drown Dr. Marrow, Crain traps Nell in bed, and best of all – Nell leads Crain to the judgment door. (The special effects in this scene are simply amazing!)

Somewhere here is the part where the arm stretches out from the door.

This clip includes the scenes where a statue tries to drown Dr. Marrow (Liam Neeson) and Crain traps Nell (Lili Taylor) in bed.

Terrifying scene where Nell summons Crain's ghost and leads him to the judgment door

Likewise, the facade and the elaborate furnishings of the Hill House add greatly to the suspense. I, for one, would feel uneasy to live in a mansion with corridors decorated with scary life-size sculptures and huge portraits. (Just passing them would make the shivers run down my spine!)

The façade of a Gothic style house similar to that of Hill House’s.
The façade of a Gothic style house similar to that of Hill House’s. | Source
The ghosts of the children communicate via the sculptures (like the one above)!
The ghosts of the children communicate via the sculptures (like the one above)! | Source

Yet, for a worthwhile Halloween watch, I would say that The Haunting is a good choice. If you're not impressed by the effects, you'll at least be drawn into the story which has many good twists. Likewise, the movie makes us ponder on the afterlife (heaven, purgatory, and hell) which should really frighten us, lest our souls end up in hell when we die.

Lastly, I feel sorry for the murdered children whose ghosts turn to Nell for help (as though she were their only hope to reach heaven) because Crain’s ghost has a grip on them. Frankly, I find this detail of the story rather odd for – being a Catholic who has studied some Christian doctrine – I am aware that a soul can’t take hold of another soul in the afterlife.

Anyway, watch this film to know what I mean. Happy Halloween!



Do you like watching scary movies during Halloween?

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This is one mystery and not-too-scary movie which I enjoy watching every Halloween:

The Haunting
The Haunting

A good addition to the home viewing collection. Filled with good CGI effects!


Boo! Got anything scary to say?

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  • Charito1962 profile image

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 15 months ago from Manila, Philippines

    Hi, Audrey! Yes, do watch the remake - if only to be awed by the technical effects! Thanks for stopping by.

  • AudreyHowitt profile image

    Audrey Howitt 15 months ago from California

    I loved the original one--and have not seen the remake yet! So glad that you enjoyed it!

  • Charito1962 profile image

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 2 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Yes, do take another look, Nathan. You may just be amazed by the effects.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • wildbluefrontier profile image

    Nathan M 2 years ago from Tucson

    Well I must admit that I was underwhelmed when I saw the movie at the theater when it came out in 1999. The original was much better. But perhaps I should have another look at it. I might enjoy it more now.

  • Charito1962 profile image

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 2 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Indeed! (Ha, ha, ha!)

    Thanks for visiting.

  • sujaya venkatesh profile image

    sujaya venkatesh 2 years ago

    horrifying alike

  • Charito1962 profile image

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Ha, ha! Thanks! Honestly, I don't like scary movies that much.

  • ladyguitarpicker profile image

    stella vadakin 3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

    Nice Hub even if I don't like scary movies.

  • BLouw profile image

    Barbara Walton 3 years ago from France

    I'm going to loo out for this film ready for next Halloween!

  • Charito1962 profile image

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Thanks for reading!

  • esmonaco profile image

    Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

    I agree, the movie has a good story line and the special effects are amazing. Great Review :)

  • tazzytamar profile image

    Anna 3 years ago from chichester

    Scary movies are probably my favourite kind of film and this looks like another great one to add to my list! Thanks for your kind comment too :D

  • SusanDeppner profile image

    Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

    I'm not much of a scary movie watcher, but I really like your review. Maybe I'll make an exception for this one. Sounds like a really good cast, and I do like a "twisty" plot.

  • Elsie Hagley profile image

    Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

    Nice Review. In New Zealand Halloween isn't very big, it's growing though. But I would watch that movies regardless of halloween.