In the silence and the black dead of night comes a whisper, faint, barely perceptible. It sighs, then rises in the darkness and blows past your face, suddenly, caressing you with the icy fingers of death. It disappears int... more »o nothingness, leaving you with only the terror and the knowledge that this, truly, is a haunting. Aidan Quinn (Legends of the Fall, Benny and Joon), Kate Beckinsale (Much Ado About Nothing) and Sir John Gielgud (First Knight, Gulliver's Travels) lead the all-star cast in this chilling adaptation of the classic James Herbert novel. When David Ash (Quinn) investigates a haunting at an isolated country manor, strange and horrifying occurrences lead him to first doubt his convictions and then his sanity. As the sordid history of the estate's family is revealed, and David falls in love with Christina (Beckinsale), he begins to see the ghostly image of a young girl calling out to him from an unearthly terror he could never have imagined.« less
Classical horror is alive and well in this overlooked gem
P. I. Johnson | Cape Town, South Africa | 09/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With the pervasiveness of the slasher sub-genre in the horror marketplace over the last 15 years, it's been rather difficult for more discriminating horror fans to find horror films that disturb and frighten without resorting to decapitation and mutilation of all sorts of obnoxious teenagers. For all the genuine originality and post-modern irony of the original Scream (which - like Unforgiven - should have closed, not reinvigorated,its sub-genre) its novelty has long since worn out thanks partly to its cynical, bland sequels and other putrid imitations. Thankfully, the recent success of The Sixth Sense and - to a lesser extent - A Stir of Echoes and What Lies Beneath suggests there may be light at the end of the tunnel for those of us increasingly tired of endless, infantile and inferior rehashes of Halloween and Black Christmas. But for horror collectors who revere movies like The Uninvited, The Innocents, Rosemary's Baby, The Haunting (original), The Legend of Hell House, The Exorcist, Don't Look Now, The Changeling, Burnt Offerings and the like, the bulk of recent Hollywood horror output has not been kind to our collections. Well look no further horror buffs! Lewis Gilbert's superb Haunted is the unacknowledged classic you've been looking for. Deploying the staples of intelligent classical horror - a haunted mansion; a twisted family history; a sceptical investigator - Gilbert has fashioned a classic of the genre that is destined for cult status. Beautifully set in the rustic south of England following World War One, the story involves a Cambridge professor (Aidan Quinn) who is a renowned debunker of supernatural phenomena. Invited to Edbrook Estate to investigate an old woman's allegations of "evil spirits" haunting the mansion she tends, he encounters the eccentric but charming family occupying the mansion. As his relationship with the sister (Kate Beckinsale in excellent form) grows, dynamics are brought into play which gradually begin to reveal the true evil at the heart of the house and its history. To complicate matters, the young professor is haunted - first emotionally, then literally - by his dead sister, whose drowning at the age of seven he blames on himself. From its wrenching opening scene (recalling Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Know) through to its unsettling concluding revelation (only the sharpest of you will figure it out beforehand), Haunted grabs you and never lets go. Midnight scratches on doors; mysterious gypsey seances; empty chairs rocking vigorously; apparitions swirling across dark lawns; spectral fires springing from nowhere; and something horrid in the lake ... Haunted hits all the right buttons with an admirable lack of embarrassment or irony. This movie is out to scare you and every frame accords to that function. So for those of you unable to get your fix from Jan de Bont's abysmal remake of The Haunting, take my word for it - this is the movie you'd been expecting! This is a horror classic awaiting for your discovery."
A GOTHIC GHOST STORY THAT WILL HAUNT THE VIEWER...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 08/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a little heralded gem of a film and a chilling adaptation of James Herbert's spooky novel of the same name. With a star studded cast, the film does not lack for talent. Beautifully acted, this gothic ghost story is a wonderfully atmospheric, haunted house tale, sparely told. The film begins with a turn of the century scene in Sussex, England with two children playing in the idyllic English countryside. They are fraternal twins, David and Juliet Ash. While playing, Juliet ends up drowning, and David, to his life long regret, is unable to save her.Years later, David (Aidan Quinn) is a Professor of Psychology with a penchant for debunking so-called supernatural occurrences. After receiving an intriguing and pleading letter from a Mrs. Webb about ghostly apparitions at the rural manor home in which she resides, David goes there, only to be met by the Mariell clan, consisting of Christina (Kate Beckindsale), and her brothers, Robert (Anthony Andrews) and Simon (Alex Lowe). It turns out that Mrs. Webb is their old nanny, whom they all still call Nanny Tess (Ann Massey). She is clearly terrified of something that is going on in the house, and the Mariells all seem to be humoring her.The Mariell siblings, at first, appear to be wildly eccentric Brits, but later seem to be more than just a little twisted, as it soon becomes apparent that all is not right in that household. There are things that go bump in the night, strange music is played, and the ghostly apparition of a young girl seems to glide about the house and grounds. Moreover, Nanny Tess always appears to be in a state of acute terror and is even so when the seemingly benign Dr. Doyle (John Geilgud) appears to give her a check up. As a romance heats up between David and Christina, however, David appears to turn a blind eye to what is going on in the household. Even the apparently unwholesome relationship Christina appears to have with her brothers, especially Robert, initially fails to nonplus David. Too late, he realizes the nature of the evil within this isolated, rural manor house. In the end, it takes the force of something beyond the grave to save him from an almost unimaginable horror. The acting is superb in this remarkably told tale of ghosts and things that go bump in the night. This is a well done, stealthily told, haunted house story that is sure to keep viewers glued to their screens. Kate Beckinsale gives a wonderful performance as the seemingly quirky and free spirited Christina. Anthony Andrews is excellent as the slightly sinister, oldest sibling, Robert. Alex Lowe is appropriately eccentric as Christina's off the wall brother, Simon. John Gielgud gives a terrific cameo performance. Aidan Quinn is effective as the erstwhile debunker who loses sight of his mission and is gulled into a false sense of reality.The only reason I did not rate this film five stars is because the director acquiesced to some need to resort to cheesy special effects at the very end. The superimposed faces on the last fire scene was unnecessary and only served to cheapen what had, otherwise, been a very well done and spooky film. The DVD itself provides crystal clear audio and visuals but little else,"
A startlingly fresh and spooky haunted house story
fionnmaccumhal | San Diego, CA USA | 04/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is first of all a great haunted house story. If you don't think you like haunted house stories try this one. It's different and clever and eerie. It's also beautifully filmed and acted. Aidan Quinn does a fine job as David Ash, the skeptical investigator of things that go bump in the night who is still troubled by the death of his twin sister years before. Kate Beckinsale steals the show as Christina Mariel the "audaciously charming" girl whose home Ash comes to investigate. Their love story is well done. (When will Kate Beckinsale get the kind of notice she deserves? The lady continues to do superb work in every kind of role.) When you pop this into your VCR (please relaese this on DVD soon!) you're in for a real treat. You won't be safe from goosebumps until the final credits. . . and maybe not even then! See this film!"
Awsome ghost story!
queen of horror | Iowa United States | 09/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great one! Very interesting and well presented, and it will definitely give you goosebumps toward the end!!"
One of the best haunted house movies
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 02/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For fans of Kate Beckinsale the movie "Haunted" is certainly a guilty pleasure - why guilty, not because it's a bad movie but simply because the young British actress has more nudity in this picture than in all her other movies combined. Two years prior to this movie Beckinsale has her first topless scene in the movie "Uncovered," and here she throws all caution to the wind - along with most of her clothes. It's a somewhat uncharacteristically scary movie from Lewis Gilbert, the man who gave us some of the silliest James Bond movies such as "You Only Live Twice" and "Moonraker." In this 1996 movie the ever-watchable Aidan Quinn plays Dr. Ash, a skeptic who accepts the invitation to investigate supernatural goings-on at a creepy country estate. Once there he begins to witness some unexplainable occurrences and for those of you looking for a twist in the end of your stories - this one has a doozey. Not to give too much away, but nothing is quite as it seems and this one gives they yet-to-be-made "Sixth Sense" a run for its money in more ways than one. Adapted from the James Herbert novel this movie is probably one of my all-time favorite haunted house tales and joining Quinn and Beckinsale are the likes of Anthony Andrews, Anna Massey and John Gielgud (in what is essentially an extended cameo). It's a brilliant gothic tale with plenty to recommend about it. I saw it with my roomies, who are all horror-movie aficionado's and they all agreed it was a good show. Is this movie scary - yes, does it thrill - yes it does that too. Is it a good purchase - yes, and if you are a Beckinsale fan it's a definite must for your collection."