The Haunting is a 1999 remake of the 1963 horror film of the same name. Both films are based on the 1959 novel, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It was directed by Jan de Bont and stars Lili Taylor, Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta Jones, and Owen Wilson.
The film was a modest hit at the box office but received overwhelmingly negative reviews and five Razzie nominations. It is also considered to be one of the worst remakes of all-time.
Eleanor (Lili Taylor), Theo (Catherine Zeta Jones), and Luke (Owen Wilson) are summoned to a haunted house for an insomnia study run by Dr. Marrow (Liam Neeson), who is really conducting a study on the psychological response to fear. But the spirit of the houses' evil owner has other plans.
Why It Sucks
- The film makes a number of dumb changes to the plot. However, director Jan de Bont claimed it was for legal reasons.
- Overuse of horror clichés.
- Unnecessary villain.
- Bad CGI effects.
- No real scares.
- Theo's implied lesbianism is made much more blatant (the Nostalgia Critic said that the character might as well be renamed "Liz Bien" and says it's mostly for fan-service).
- Liam Neeson gives a very dull performance as Dr. Marrow. Plus, the character's original name was Dr. Markway.
- Two pointless characters that Dr. Marrow brought. They are gone when the female gets face slapped by a wire.
- Owen Wilson does nothing but state the obvious. In the original, Luke, played by Russ Tamblyn, was more interesting and more active.
- There's a pointless scene where Dr. Marrow tricks Eleanor, Theo and Luke to come to the haunted house for an experiment while in the original, Dr. Markway told them the true reason they were there.
- Anti-climatic ending where Eleanor defeats the ghost of Hugh Crain with the power of love and family, which is really childish and not suited for a horror film.
- Lili Taylor is a good replacement for the main lead and she gives a decent performance.
- Neat sets and production designs, pointed by Roger Ebert, who actually liked the film.
The Haunting received mixed to negative reviews from critics and audiences currently holding a 16% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 3.7 out of 10 and a critic consensus that reads "Sophisticated visual effects fail to offset awkward performances and an uneven script." Desmond Ryan of The Philadelphia Inquirer described the film as "A passable piece of summer hokum, but it underlines how difficult it has become to make an effective horror movie." Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times described the film as "a feeble frightfest that even its characters seem irked at it." However, Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times gave The Haunting a favorable review and stated "To my surprise, I find myself recommending The Haunting on the basis of its locations, its sets, its art direction, its sound design, and the overall splendor of its visuals."
The Haunting opened up at #1 on its opening weekend of July 23, 1999 with a domestic gross of $33,435,140. It would later make a total domestic gross of $91,411,151. The film made $85,900,000 overseas. Overall, it made $177,311,151.
Awards and nominations
The Haunting was nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, but lost to Wild Wild West.
- The Nostalgia Critic named it the worst remake he has ever reviewed and the tenth worst film he has ever reviewed. His real life persona, Doug Walker, admitted walking out of it.
- The Haunting - Nostalgia Critic
The Nostalgia Critic's review as part of "Nostalgia-Ween"
- The Top 11 Worst Movies the Nostalgia Critic Reviewed