The Haunting
Dominic Corry

Sunday October 3rd, 2004 at 10.50pm

Liam Neeson, Owen Wilson and Catherine Zeta-Jones star in this marvellously overwrought remake of the classic 1963 British haunted house film.

Dr. David Morrow (Neeson) invites striking Theo (Zeta-Jones), goofy Luke (Wilson) and sensitive Nell (Lili Taylor) to partake in a "sleep study" in a huge old mansion. But he is really trying to exploit the mansion's grisly past to study fear in his subjects.

But, wouldn't you know it, the mansion really is haunted, and all sorts of nasty things begin occurring.

The Haunting got savaged by critics for showing, rather than suggesting, its horrors. The Robert Wise-directed black-and-white original was celebrated for never actually showing anything nasty, and being all the more scary for it. But if you let yourself go with the remake, it can be quite entertaining fun. And even scary at times. Sort of.

The cast helps - Wilson's always fun, Zeta-Jones lights up a room, and Taylor goes all out with her pathetic little lost soul act. Neeson's a tad boring though.

And the film is an undeniable masterpiece of production design - the house is ridiculously opulent. This seemed to offend some critics, but I love that sort of stuff. There's plenty of mental CGI nastiness, too.

Perfect late night Sunday viewing. Not than I feel the need to explain myself of anything, but I've made it my Movie of the Week 'cause I do enjoy watching a good overwrought, over expensive and over designed Hollywood spectacle, and this more than qualifies. It's the kind of film that suits being seen on TV, rather than having to actually pay money for it.

Dominic Corry