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The Haunting

Director:Jan De Bont
DreamWorks; 117 minutes; PG-13
Release:7/99
Cast:Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lili Taylor, Liam Neeson
adapted from a Shirley Jackson novel

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Lili Taylor can't sleep. They head to the Berkshires for what they think is a research experiment on insomnia but find far nastier things than the 2 A.M. blues. Like any good Gothic thriller, the house in The Haunting is very much alive. In fact, it's the most interesting and best-developed character in the movie. Hill House flaunts its exotically Baroque architecture, faces in the woodwork, bloody footprints, wraithlike terrors, and much worse. As the story unfolds it becomes increasingly evident that The Haunting depends on straightforward shock, neglecting mood, tension, and the cast (including Jedi Knight Liam Neeson) in favor of a minimally onslaught of scary effects.


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