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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.67%
Worth A Look: 5.33%
Average: 9.33%
Pretty Bad: 17.33%
Total Crap61.33%

11 reviews, 159 user ratings

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Haunting, The (1999)
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by Chef ADogg

"Gives new meaning to the term 'No brainer'"
1 stars

"The Haunting" is a scary movie minus the scariness (not much of a surprise--when's the last time you saw a big budget movie that actually scared you?). At best, it's a pale carbon copy of "The Shining," though that's not even saying much.

In my book, "The Shining" is not a horror masterpiece but the bones of a horror masterpiece--in adapting the novel for the screen, Kubrick laid bare Stephen King's original plot, stripping the characters of complexity and the story of heart. If one is to watch "The Shining" before reading it, parts may be scary, but after these parts are explained in the book (and the fog of confusion is destroyed), Kubrick's film is painfully simple.

"The Haunting" is similarly excruciating. The plot focuses on three insomniacs lured to a haunted house by a doctor with shady ulterior motives (it's already been given away in the commercials that the insomnia angle is just a front for the true study, that of a group's reaction to fear). The biggest part goes to Lili Taylor, a superb indie actress who should be famous by now but won't get anywhere if she keeps doing shitty would-be blockbusters like this Jan De Bont helmed mess. She quivers, she whimpers, and finally she yells, but Taylor is given absolutely nothing to work with. Instead of a complex and layered performance (she would have been better to focus on nuance instead of grand theatrics), she hams half heartedly.

Catherine Zeta Jones shows up to flaunt her magnificent breasts, and Owen Wilson has a small part (he's there mostly to make asinine wisecracks and reference "Teletubbies"), but they're just window dressing. Liam Neeson, who I once upon a time mistook for a serious actor, growls and furrows his eyebrows in an attempt to look menacing.

De Bont has created a funhouse that's just no fun--in the opening scenes, when the characters roam around the great mansion, it should be frisky and adventurous. Due to the smooth, sweeping cinematography (the camera is always, always on point) and lack of punch, it just feels dreary. Likewise the "smashing" finale, when the computer generated effects take over and the "surprise" ending is revealed (the twist manages to be both mundane and coming-out-nowhere surprising--you knew all along it, or something similar, was waiting under the surface to pop up).

As with most horror films, the characters do plenty of stupid and illogical things, but the movie itself is so simple and see through that I could actually forgive it--I can believe the characters are dumb enough to make such retarded moves if they're too damn blind to realize they're in a horror movie.

I'm going to give "The Haunting" one star, which it doesn't even deserve, really. It gets it, though, for two reasons: A) there's no zero star option, and B) it scared the hell out of my girlfriend. And you gotta like that.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 07/26/99 05:27:59
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Horror Remakes: For more in the Horror Remakes series, click here.

User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell crap watch the original its scary this is not 1 stars
5/27/12 Mike Fitzpatrick Skip this and see the 1963 Wise film; no blood nor corpses anywhere, but it's 1000% scarier 2 stars
8/15/09 Pete Its worth watching if you just want to see Catherine Zeta Jones 4 stars
11/09/08 Johnny Not so good 2 stars
10/14/08 Shaun Wallner Scary Film! 5 stars
3/22/08 Matt Possibly the worst movie ever created. Lil Taylor is possibly the worst actress of all time 1 stars
5/11/07 then came bronson didn't care for it, initially. But it grew on me. 4 stars
3/07/07 action movie fan terrible remake-first not that great -this abysmal-stupid and lame 1 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega It's not the classic, but still a neat horror thriller. 3 stars
12/14/06 Browncoat This movie outstrips House on Haunted Hill in every conceivable way!! 5 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist A few visible movie goofs, like Twister, but another great classic from Jan De Bont! 5 stars
8/09/06 Doreen Loved it! 4 stars
7/02/06 Zephyr Even the "children" are CGI! What the---? 1 stars
12/27/05 TheOthersFan just watch "The Others" if you want a film that SUCCEEDS at attempting psychological horror 1 stars
9/02/05 ES Horror movies are supposed to be scary right? 1 stars
7/02/05 Indrid Cold Just barely watchable shouldn't be a compliment, but it is for this movie. 2 stars
6/11/05 Rock-Steady wow, this movie is a piece of shit. 5 stars
5/28/05 tony Why has Jan De Bont gone so down hill? OH YAH it was speed 2 1 stars
4/26/05 E-FUNK It's tough to say becuase I lost all use of my brain five minutes into this heap. 1 stars
11/11/04 MSKB you dumasses, this movie had one of the best sets in history, an architectual masterpiece! 4 stars
11/06/04 MB Totally flat, painfully bad script, sadly lacking trash. 1 stars
11/04/04 Josh Standlee Lame! Totally lame! This film reaks of lameness! I hate this damn movie! 1 stars
8/06/04 Anthony G catherine zeta jones should of ate out that one bitch 1 stars
6/14/04 Mahrk Rubbish. Rent the excellent original by Robert Wise 1 stars
4/24/04 star not even crap 1 stars
3/30/04 alan Reinoehl They actually spend money to make something like this?? 1 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge My dogs have puked up scarier things than this. 1 stars
12/30/03 Littlepurch More comical than funny. The main woman can't act and there's only 1 death scene!!! Ok tho. 3 stars
12/10/03 Samuel This was supposed to be scary?!? Really?!? Oh my Jan de Bont, I'm so..sorry!! 1 stars
12/07/03 john horror films are about atmosphere and not (rather average) computer effects 1 stars
8/12/03 Double G I liked it. Owen's nose is messed up!!! 5 stars
8/12/03 Matt Thiel Am I being too generous? Probably. 3 stars
8/05/03 sean mcgrath absolute crap, bad acting, bad effects, bad scripting absolutely pathetic. a rotten tomato! 1 stars
3/30/03 Fernando Nunez An horror movie, but not for the genre but for the results... 1 stars
2/08/03 Chris Owen Wilson sucks. His voice is annoying and he looks like a freak. 1 stars
2/03/03 Turtle Sad, sad attempt at a remake. 2 stars
1/30/03 Nevz om my god, this is gay 1 stars
12/30/02 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng Jan De Bont, what the fuck happened? This movie sucks!!! 1 stars
10/22/02 Charles Tatum Lousy remake of an overrated film 1 stars
9/14/02 Magnum Craphole Can anybody say: piece of crap? Stupidest effects ever, and story as dull as they come. 1 stars
8/21/02 Gerry Ville Painfully insipid! Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta Jones deserve better. 1 stars
8/13/02 Dave I would watch it for comfort. It is super comfy horror. BAD. 1 stars
8/07/02 I Can't Swim Hate to agree w/assclowns who vote here but they are right, this time 1 stars
7/10/02 Jerry The only thing in this movie that scares me is that De Bont actually got this shit released 1 stars
6/08/02 hum oh my this is bad 1 stars
5/22/02 Iris Dementia Praecox Tense stylish horror buildup spoiled by mawkish pious new-agish ending. 3 stars
5/14/02 Monster W. Kung A piece of bilge trash that continuously borders unintentional comedy. 1 stars
4/04/02 cat OK for an old plot. Too bad about Owen's head though. Hated the ending! 4 stars
4/03/02 Butterbean The Blair Witch Project thrilled me with only sticks and rocks. How sad is that 2 stars
3/30/02 Zargo it would, but yeah this movie's shit 1 stars
3/25/02 Veronica Foxx aka The Raven-Haired Temptress Even lesbian masturbation scenes with Zeta-Jones couldn't make this watchable. Well maybe. 2 stars
1/27/02 Lin Rainey The original B&W version scared the hell out of me. What a disappointment this one is. 2 stars
11/27/01 sdfr Some one please shoot Jan De Bont. And I don't mean with a camera. 1 stars
10/23/01 Tam Even Liam Neeson has to put his kids through college. FOLKS, DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY! 1 stars
10/05/01 Mike Junk. A waste of time. 1 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk This movie is just fucking horrid...Jan De Bont has proven he's a no-talent ass-clown. 1 stars
8/06/01 badfish The soundtrack alone is worth 4 stars. Overall Not Bad! 4 stars
5/30/01 Thrillhouse I've seen better on Goosebumps 1 stars
5/23/01 Dean On a big screen, the house is beautiful. Everything else sucks big time. 2 stars
5/21/01 tnt interesting up to a a little out there 3 stars
5/07/01 Meridith Not the greatest film I've seen. But hey, it's Owen Wilson, so I don't complain. 2 stars
5/02/01 Monster W. Kung Unwatchable crap 1 stars
3/01/01 John Trent Go see house on haunted hill instead 3 stars
2/11/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi The FX look like they came from a rummage sale. Rent "Poltergeist" instead. 2 stars
1/23/01 scorekeeper ahhhhhh..... welllllllll..... 3 stars
1/14/01 Invader This movie sucked big time,not one fright in it,the whole effort just sad. 1 stars
12/27/00 Turtle Not scary the second time around, but it's always suspenseful. 4 stars
9/14/00 Ground Zero Alexander, your review sucks. This movie deserves a 0-star rating... why not have one 1 stars
8/22/00 Monday Morning They forget the most important element of chiller films: KILLING! 2 stars
8/21/00 Eric Could have been better, the original film has real chills in it. 2 stars
8/11/00 Terrie Smith A real disappointment. Watch the 1963 film instead; it's well done. 2 stars
7/30/00 Digitalus This sucks on the classic 1 stars
7/13/00 Tom Not even Lili Taylor could save this one. 2 stars
5/22/00 Richard Wright Not a bad film, kept you watching and had eye-catching special effects. But the acting... 3 stars
4/27/00 Pansy cool house, awful movie 1 stars
4/25/00 John Lyons Needed some gratuitus nudity. 2 stars
4/19/00 The Rock The Rock says thats the single worst piece or monkey crap the Rock has ever seen! 1 stars
4/19/00 Lame-Oh Nice FX, suck-tactular movie, WTH was that? 1 stars
4/12/00 Andrew Cool effects, but the movie was shit, plus you didn't get to see Catherine's tits 1 stars
4/09/00 EMagGaRony probably the worst piece of shit movie i have ever seen 1 stars
4/07/00 Gremlin What the fuck was that shit? 2 stars
3/12/00 hum id been told it was bad. didnt think could be THIS BAD 1 stars
3/03/00 Megalishious Watt I want my money back. Rates a zero-why not have one? 1 stars
2/22/00 Mr. Kramitall Imagine I saw Avengers 5 times before being dragged to this slag-heap 1 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Rent "Poltergeist" instead. PLEASE!! 1 stars
1/19/00 victor awful, I laughed all the way through it 1 stars
12/13/99 Kayla Lovell I thought it was alright i thought it would be very scary but it wasn't. 4 stars
12/05/99 bullit17 Nice special effects. But no matter how much you try to dress up shit, it's still shit 1 stars
11/25/99 Mark Film broke with 10 mins left ... I was glad 1 stars
10/31/99 Lame-Oh Awesome house, lame-ass cast and bad remake. Sitck with the classic. 1 stars
10/24/99 Amalia Illgner A waste of special effects 1 stars
10/21/99 Mark Dainty The Silliest, stupidest film I have EVER, EVER SEEN 1 stars
10/12/99 Frank Curigliano So bad it's funny. Neeson surprisingly overacts badly in a few scenes. 2 stars
10/10/99 Sam S Shit movie, cool house 3 stars
10/10/99 Viral Messiah I agree with Movie Freek. One of the worst novies of '99, so far. 1 stars
10/05/99 Joel Harwood Starts good but ends like crap apart from zeta jones this movie sux. 2 stars
10/04/99 Lindsey This was a pretty crappy movie!!! I didn't enjoy it at all!! 1 stars
10/04/99 Suckit retarded movie 1 stars
10/03/99 Joe Schmoe Worse than Wild Wild West 1 stars
9/24/99 Duck In need of a script, plot, good direction...I could go on.... 1 stars
9/20/99 Admiral Crunch That's not Neeson beating off, it's de Bont. Scumbag ruined The Haunting. 1 stars
9/20/99 B.W.B Sucked out loud but nice to see Lili Taylor in anything. 1 stars
9/19/99 Frank it sucked!!!! 1 stars
9/11/99 Timbo I WANT MY TWO HOURS BACK 1 stars
8/26/99 Ami the Wonderbread Too bad I laughed at all the "scary" parts 2 stars
8/23/99 mason 5 beers (imported) & 2 joints (also imported) in the parking lot will help you enjoy this 4 stars
8/22/99 the head of Alfredo Garcia I'm ashamed I saw this 1 stars
8/22/99 Sphincter Boy About as scary as a preschool puppet show. 1 stars
8/21/99 BoB Quit making dissing this movie. It wasn't that bad, it still a fun movie to watch. 4 stars
8/20/99 Sillybugger Give me a f***king break, here, please. What a piecce of dog sh**! 1 stars
8/19/99 Admiral Crunch It wants to be on The X-Files. Hey Alexander, your review sucks! 1 stars
8/19/99 Geoff Sure, the dialogue sucked, but the plot sure was lousy. What a turd. 1 stars
8/18/99 Chuck D. The film equivalent of a heaping pile of shit. -**** stars. 1 stars
8/17/99 Obi Wan Sucks!!! And Datz Da Bottom Line!!! 2 stars
8/13/99 Elizaveta hahahahahahahaHA! Absoulutely Hilarious!! 1 stars
8/10/99 Jeff The movie is not completely useless, my wife and I used the theatre to make out. 1 stars
8/04/99 GDB WARNING!!! does not live up to the hype. 2 stars
8/04/99 Ricky Urena This movie is SHIT! Don't see it. It's all graphics. Acting-SUCKS, writing-SUCKS. 1 stars
8/04/99 Vassago This was a cinematic abortion. See "Blair Witch Project" instead...or read Shirley Jackson 1 stars
8/03/99 John Teller Computers arn't scary. Good stories with good actors are? The 1963 version has both. See it 2 stars
8/03/99 Jenn (Chuck) This movie was different from the other traditional horror movies. It really scared me! 5 stars
8/03/99 Badi Klem The Blair Witch Project is scarier and they did not spend ten million on special effects. 1 stars
8/02/99 John M How in the hell could anyone like this piece of s***?! 1 stars
8/02/99 Jeff Fucking awesome as a comedy, Sucks all Ass as anything else 1 stars
8/01/99 Matt Good Effects, Good scenery, Bad acting, Not scary 3 stars
8/01/99 Skye I hereby sentence Jan DeBont to death by stoning. 1 stars
8/01/99 Doris Bennett the plot was stupid.. "oh grandfather" I thought he couldn't have kids. what's up with that 1 stars
7/31/99 Roman Mindblowingly Crappy. I've had more fun being constipated 1 stars
7/31/99 Michael Fun (not awesome) set design & creepy (if brief) effects, but otherwise dull 4 stars
7/31/99 hmm it sucked! 1 stars
7/30/99 becca the story was really dumb... "It's all about family" is the silliest and most unfitting quo 2 stars
7/29/99 Will Coleman Incredibly Bad 2 stars
7/29/99 PhilmPhreak Not horrible, not great 3 stars
7/28/99 J-Dogg Worst fucking movie I've ever seen, right in the ballpark of "Godzilla". Shit, shit, SHIT. 1 stars
7/27/99 trend this movie was such a disopontment sucky plot sucky ending 1 stars
7/27/99 kizirk I was expecting a piece o' shit, but the woman madde me go. needless to say it was fun. no, 3 stars
7/27/99 Marshall W. A fun summer movie to go see 5 stars
7/27/99 Jon Gwynne A pale shadow of what could have been a great movie 3 stars
7/27/99 AZ Ummm, where did the other 2 characters go? 2 stars
7/27/99 Kenny Neal Add a great dane, and you've got yourself a fine episode of Scooby Doo... 1 stars
7/27/99 sheila achs great house; bad acting; bad film; julie harris where are you? no resemblance to the orig. 2 stars
7/26/99 Suzanne See the original! 1963, I believe...old = good, new = rots! (why'd you do it, Lili?) 2 stars
7/26/99 Jessica Sparks This is, without a doubt , the worst horror film I've had the misfortune to see. 1 stars
7/26/99 lizzy it was like being on a rollercoaster, that kinda scary 5 stars
7/26/99 F PANUCCI Invents or at least is a major contribution to a new genre - even worser fucky shitbad 1 stars
7/25/99 john quigley i am iam not a movie reread the most hateful reviews and assume they are holding back. 1 stars
7/25/99 Freyja Great movie, if you like campy trashy fun. If not, sucks wooly mammoth cock. 3 stars
7/25/99 Lady Kalana Unbelievable lousy, a miserable disappointment. 1 stars
7/25/99 PurityJustBegs Hands down, the funniest film of the year! It does not get any more abysmal than this... 1 stars
7/25/99 Ah Dooey Bad FX and plot made this movie ridiculous 1 stars
7/25/99 Randall Well, it made me laugh a lot, but i don't think it was a comedy 1 stars
7/25/99 Cage Not a horror by any means, but the awesome environments make it worth a look. 4 stars
7/25/99 buddy WWW, EWS now this, I'm going to start taking pain killers to the movies with me. 1 stars
7/24/99 Christ Monkey I am in fucking PAIN! Kill me! Kill Jan De Bont! Just make it stop. 1 stars
7/24/99 Vampyre9mm Special effects don't make up for a bad script. 3 stars
7/22/99 LAFilmBuff About as scary as a lukewarm bowl of oatmeal, and even less tasty. 1 stars
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  23-Jul-1999 (PG-13)


  23-Sep-1999 (MA)

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