The Haunting

A stinker. If a scare is what you're after, hunt down the 1963 black-and-white 'Scope version, directed by Robert Wise, which had more chills in its first ten minutes than this can manage from beginning to end. Maybe that's because it had a story—derived, however loosely, from Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. This has director Jan De Bont, who as we know from Speed, Twister, and Speed 2 does theme park rides better than stories or characters. This has a few cheap thrills, all thanks to special effects, but not much to string them together besides some distracting, disconnected leftovers from the Wise version. But at the screening I attended, the numerous awkward and hokey moments did provoke plenty of laughs. With Liam Neeson, Lili Taylor, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, and bits by Bruce Dern and Marian Seldes. The “script” was written by David Self.

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