House on Haunted Hill (1999)

Posted: December 11, 2011 in Movie Review
Tags: , , ,

House on Haunted Hill (1999)

Directed By: William Malone

Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Taye Diggs, Ali Larter, Bridgette Wilson, Peter Gallagher, Chris Kattan, Jeffrey Combs

Subgenre: Ghosts and Supernatural

House on Haunted Hill

Synopsis: A group of strangers attempts to spend the night in a haunted asylum for a million dollars.

Thoughts: Early on in the current deluge of horror remakes, Dark Castle Entertainment would produce three remakes of classic horror movies.  House on Haunted Hill would be the first, with Thirteen Ghosts and House of Wax to follow.

While not a great movie, I thought that House on Haunted Hill was a pretty fun movie.  I thought that the cast was strong, especially Geoffrey Rush stepping into Vincent Price’s role from the original.  I have a lot of respect for Rush as an actor and thought his role was great.  Famke Jannsen played the perfect trophy wife to Rush’s character as well.  I have to admit I have always had a thing for Jannsen.  I think she is gorgeous and usually love her in movies.  Chris Kattan does what he does best and gives comedic relief when needed.  Throw in Jeffrey Combs as the murderous spirit Dr. Vannacutt and you have an all-around solid cast.  About the only role I had a problem with was Taye Diggs.  For someone with so much screen time, I just didn’t care for him.

The atmosphere of the House was also really well done.  The asylum was just plain spooky and the shots of Vannacut shuffling around were creepy as hell.  The script is muddled as Malone peppered the haunted house with a twist amongst the guests all while trying to figure out why they were all invited.  It led to just too much going on with not enough time for scares.  Malone went for tension here, whereas I think that a few jump scares and a simpler story would have made this a blast.

There are some pretty gory scenes and the FX are more than solid up until the end when The Darkness manifests itself as a black cloud filled with souls.  The ending really soured the movie for me.  Had the ending been better, I think this would have been a successful movie, but even so, I thought it was a fun movie.

  1. Though not one of my favorite horror flicks, I enjoy this one just the same. I’m a fan of Geoffrey Rush, Jeffrey Combs and Ali Larter. Famke Janssen, too, to an extent. So, yeah, I was really happy with the casting of HoHH. I watched the direct-to-video sequel to this two or three days ago, having received it as a Christmas gift. It makes this look like an Oscar contender by comparison. Combs (the only returning cast member) has exactly one line of dialogue. Such a waste.

  2. shnsjolin says:

    I have the sequel as well, think I picked it up for $3 maybe. Haven’t watched it yet, but I’m sure I will at some point. I’ve heard it’s pretty bad as well.

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