What I Thought of “The Haunting” Remake
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!)
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?
This is one mystery and not-too-scary movie which I enjoy watching every Halloween:
A good addition to the home viewing collection. Filled with good CGI effects!