The 1999 horror film, “The Haunting”, may not leave you shaking in your boots, but if your like me, you’ll find it quite captivating.
Eleanor Vance (Lili Taylor) has lived a quiet life caring for her mother in a small apartment. After her mother has passed away (where the story begins) her sister comes to kick her out, leaving her with nothing but her mothers old car. Before she moves, or even packs for that matter, Eleanor receives a phone call about an insomnia study that needs participants. She puts her name down as a candidate and is later selected to take part. When she arrives at the location of the study, she finds that it is Hill House, a secluded mansion built many years ago. She quickly falls in love with the old house and it’s unique architecture. Little does she or the other participants know though, that insomnia is not the reason they are really there.
I owned this movie not too long after it was made. I was about 11 or 12 years old I’d say. I’ve always enjoyed watching this movie even though I’ve seen it more times than I can count. I’m fascinated with old creepy mansions and if I had the money I’d pay about any price to get my hands on one. To live in such an elaborate house with an older design that is so impeccably detailed would be a grand experience. Having once stood for power and money, the same could be said about anyone who owned such a house today.
So the house was cool…let’s move on.
This one comes with a surefire cast that won’t let you down. They include Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lili Taylor, and Owen Wilson. We have seen all of these great people in at least one other other film or TV show, and their roles in this film are very important to it’s overall enjoyableness. It isn’t until we get to the “horror factor” that the movie begins to slip…off a cliff.
Here I go…it’s not scary in the slightest. It is definitely what I could consider a good movie, but it doesn’t frighten any part of the viewer. It almost cant actually. It’s like a knife with a rounded edge. It’s still a knife that can be used for activities other than cutting, such as spreading butter. But that’s not very exciting is it? Neither is this movie if you go into it expecting to be scared.
So the horror is toned down…ALOT….what about the plot?
The plot is pretty good actually. It’s clever in the sense that it’s slightly deceiving, and it’s entertaining because it’s portrayed in the most appropriate of settings. It mixes original and new ideas together to create an “average” horror story that I’m quite fond of. It doesn’t waste your time and it doesn’t have you begging for more. You buy it, watch it, and enjoy it. That’s it!
Total Abstract Rating: 85% It won’t scare you, but if you let it, it will entertain you.
Thanks for reading. Written by Chris McBride, author of Abstracticality.