In 1999, we were given the effects heavy thrill ride known as The Haunting. It was an adaptation of the Shirley Jackson novel The Haunting of Hill House, and is full of wonder and frights galore.
The plot follows three people who go to Hill House to participate in an experiment on insomnia. However they discover they are there for other reasons, particularly a woman named Nell, who has undiscovered familial ties to the house.
One thing that always amazes me each time I watch this movie is the sculptures and statues around the house. Though the ones of children are a bit creepy, they are all works of art. The movie features Catherine Zeta-Jones who plays the seductive Theo, as well as Owen Wilson wowing up the joint. Once the manifestations start happening, the movie starts really taking office. This was around the time CGI was coming into its own, so I get the feeling the graphic designers were just pulling out all the stops to see what they could really do. And none of it gets silly either. It actually contributes to the quality of scares found in the movie.
The ending shows a return home as well as the sacrifices made to protect one’s family. I’m sure there was a lesson learned of taking experiments too far as well. The doctor even realizes he should have stopped before things got to far, but he had to know. That knowledge cost lives and well as his reputation.
The Haunting still holds up in my opinion and it is easy to see why it was a huge financial success when it first released. It even got parodied in the horror comedy Scary Movie 2. Full of spooky flair, it is currently streaming on Hulu and Paramount+, and I highly recommend checking it out
Till next time, stay scared!!