When this miniseries debuted back in 2002 I believe I could not have been happier. Two of my favorite things were coming together, nay, three of my favorite things. Those things were Stephen King [as writer], haunted house [as the story and setting] and Julian Sands [as an actor] who I loved from the first two "Warlock" movies". So naturally when it was airing I watched it every night and then when released on DVD I was right there to pick it up. So every once in a while when I come across it in the collection I have to watch it again. Being that it is October I thought why not right now, my lady loves it and I haven't seen it in a while so here we go.
The story follows a professor named Joyce Reardon who is obsessed with a local mansion that is said to be haunted, Rose Red. She wants to lead a research team into the house and try to prove what most already believe, that the house is alive and indeed haunted. It got its reputation by being the site of some 23 deaths or disappearances, and also much like when the lady of the house was alive and constantly building the house seems to continue her wish of expansion even after death. Dr. Reardon and her team of psychics enter the house expecting something but what they get is much more than what the bargained for.
Now I will admit that this is far from a perfect film and even being written by King himself it had to be toned down for TV. It was originally written as a feature film by king with Steven Spielberg on to produce; I guess he wanted to revisit something like "Poltergeist". But that didn't work out so years later here we were. I still wonder what that would have been like but any way what we did get was great. As far as TV miniseries go this is a fun one with a great cast. Nancy Travis was great as Joyce here would really wanted to prove ghosts are real so bad she is somewhat insane from the beginning. Matt Keeslar was good in the role of the houses sole survivor from the family, as was Melaine Lynskey as the character Annie's big sister. Speaking of Annie, Kimberly Brown was great in the role that was key to the story. In fact the entire cast was great but it was Matt Ross and Julian Sands that stole the show in my opinion. I have always liked Sands and knew he would be great in this but Ross was hands down my favorite here as Emery. From the first time I watched this film on TV even to now I always root for him even as his character is not the most likable to most people. But I felt like that character was the most realistic in the situation, as in that is the way I would be if I was there type of thing.
Set in Seattle Washington the locations look great and add to the atmosphere. When you thing of haunted houses it is easy to picture them in a place that is rainy, cloudy, and very moody. Also the set designs are wonderful from the present all the way back to the flashbacks. In fact it is those period scenes that shine the brightest here, especially with the performances of Julia Campbell as the owner of the house and Tsidii Le Loka as her best friend. Loka in particular is very creepy throughout the film, especially when she invites a young man from the college in [you will see]. Those eyes in that scene are brilliant.
Directed by Craig Baxley who also did other King mini-series's "Storm of the Centaury" [one of the all time best] and "Kingdom Hospital" along with this series' prequel film "The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer" this turned out to be a pretty fun film. It isn't the scariest thing out there but the characters and their interactions make this an entertaining watch. I do recommend this set to any King fan out there or any horror fan looking for something to pass the time on a weekend. I had fun with it all those years ago and still enjoy it now.
Pros: . Cons: . The Bottom Line: diappointing Hmmmm .. I am disappointed in King. Not that his style or abilities were any less than ever before, but this knock off of Shirley Jacksons The Haunting seems to be below his moral caliber. Of course it has all been updated and spiffed up, and is actually much better than the 1999 release of The Haunting which was just flat out ridiculous. To see … more
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In this Stephen King story, which aired as television miniseries in three two-hour parts, Dr. Joyce Reardon (Nancy Travis) is a professor at the University of Washingtonn in Seattle who is determined to prove that supernatural occurrences are real. Using six specialists, each of whom possess a different form of psychic ability, the scientist leads her group into Rose Red, a haunted mansion that has grown in size since it was built in 1907. From there, the film because a wonderfully delirious ghost story, using the bizarre settings contained within the gigantic house to procure constant new surprises.