Haunting" on DVD
Home is Where the
by Johnny Bray
You guys have GOT
to see the special effects in this flick!
They are just downright
in-freakin-credible - which is extremely important for a movie with such
a horrible central plot.
Based on the book
'The Haunting of Hill House' (I guess they changed the name because it
bore too much resemblance to this fall's 'House on Haunted Hill'), Dreamworks'
"The Haunting" is about some professor-type guy who wants to
conduct an experiment on fear. So, like anyone would do, he puts an ad
in a paper asking anyone with sleep deprivation to call him.
Of course there are
four people who call: the incredibly gorgeous rich girl (Catherine Zeta-Jones,
who else?), the wisecracking, gorgeous-rich-girl-obsessed guy (Owen Wilson),
the straight man (woman in this case, played by Lili Taylor), and the
girl who leaves five minutes after they arrive after being whipped in
the face by a piano string (come on, how many times have we seen that?).
It turns out that
Hill House was built by Hugh Craine 130 years ago for his wife and the
children they would never have. Craine was known as a swell-old-chap back
then, but it isn't until someone invades his house that we find out the
a truth that could explain why all the housekeepers leave
as soon as it starts to get dark.
Liam Neeson stars
as the professor-type who drags them all there under false pretense, but
even a talented actor such as he can't save the movie from its flat dialogue.
Wilson and Zeta-Jones are allright, but Lili Taylor's whiney voice gets
so annoying after a while that you almost want to listen to Britney Spears
one more time (NOTE: I said 'almost').
Directed by Jan de
Bont (Speed, Twister), with the screenplay coming from David Self, The
Haunting is a great movie if you're not worried about a believable plot.
But, as mentioned, the special effects are phenomenal, and at some points,
the movie can make you jump six and a half feet in the air, something
which The Blair Witch Project didn't come close to doing.
One of the greatest
things about the movie is the look given to the house itself. When the
camera pans over the friggin' huge house it looks friggin' awesome - which
means production designer Eugenio Zanetti has done his job.
The trailers did
the movie justice, though they never really hinted as to what the plot
was about (it's a good thing, too), instead showing you a bunch of the
effects with just enough of Catherine Zeta-Jones to keep you interested.
I, personally, thought the movie was great, I have to say it has one of
the worst endings I've seen since Dragonheart's. But then, I'm into the
whole haunted house thing, so the movie was preaching to the converted.
If you want to actually
be scared - for a change - this movie can do it for you.
If you're looking
for plot and screenwriting, however, you might want to go elsewhere.
is a Dreamworks' "Signature Selection" release, which means
it has Jan de Bont's "Jan Henry" scrawled in gold across the
front. Fortunately, there's more to the extras than that...
The widescreen disc
is in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, and the disc looks and sounds really
good. For real extras, you get a half hour documentary (hosted by a rather
wooden Zeta-Jones) on "The making of the film", a reasonable
liner essay, trailers, cast/filmmaker info and production notes.
The Haunting, from
Dreamworks Home Video
113 minutes, Widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital
Starring Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, Lili Taylor
Produced by Susan Arnold, Donna Arkoff Roth, Colin Wilson, Screenplay
by David Self
Directed by Jan de Bont
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