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Haunted

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Lewis Gilbert

When a boarder at the Mariell manor reportedly sees ghosts, Professor David Ash (Aidan Quinn) makes a house call to investigate. As he attempts to rationalize the possibility of ghosts, he falls for the alluring Christina Mariell (Kate Beckinsale) and … see full wiki

Cast: John Gielgud
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Release Date: 1995
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Haunted

A Modern Gothic Tale

  • Sep 19, 2000
Rating:
+3
Pros: Good actors, good settings

Cons: Slow pace, no real building of suspense

This is not Horror,and having read the other review on this flick, I'll even admit that it is not truly Suspense either. However, it has a gothic horror appeal that is undeniable. This is a creepy movie, the kind that sits in your mind and the more you think on it, the more goosebumps you get!

Like Poe's The Fall of The House of Usher, we have someone who is clueless to the truth but assaulted with the results of what has happened anyway. In the end, he is left on his own to sort through the rubble for explanations his mind will accept. The huge house, the bizarre house keeper,all the enigmatic responses, the socially shocking revelation of the truth & the desire to help someone in place of the one you COULDN'T help- these aspects prey on the mind like a classic gothic novel.


The title is very fitting. The main character IS Haunted, but what haunts him more,the ghosts that seem determined to challenge his disbelief? His sisters death? What might have been? His own skepticism? He is not a skeptic willingly, he WANTS to believe, but has become disillusioned having met with nothing but failure.

I'm sure whatever therapy he received after his sister's death, even if it was no more than parental comforting, would not have encouraged him to "see" her again either. Society tends to have the very pragmatic view of, "Dead is Dead. If you are seeing someone who died, you must have serious problems!"

Yet, when people share close bonds, and that bond is severed (especially when it is sudden) the one left behind aches with longing; just to SEE that loved one once more is a powerful desire. The main character here is already haunted by this very dichotomy when he is pulled into investigating this house.

Perhaps the viewer perceives the presence of the ghosts before they are all revealed, and perhaps he doesn't. What is really creepy is how the main character perceives it all. If you believed yourself to be practical, logical, rational and intelligent how would you feel when you realize that you have been living in the ruins of a house with several ghosts totally UNAWARE of your true state of affairs? Deceived by all your senses, how do you ever trust yourself again? Let's not even deal with being saved by the ghost of your sibling from a fate worse than whatever.

The slow moving pace is what I think really killed this movie for a wider audience appeal. Most people don't want movies to be at all enigmatic, and usually Hollywood bends over backwards on that score. This was no way near as predictable as say The Fallen (which totally ruined that movie for me!), but they struck a compromise.

The actors were well cast, and did their jobs admirably. The story was interesting, the settings appropriate, and the effects decent. The only REAL horror here is all in your mind, so if you have a vivid & inquisitive imagination, the more you think about the creepier it gets! It's no Frankenstein, but it was better than a lot of stuff Hollywood cranks out!



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