Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Horror The House on Haunted Hill (1999)

The House on Haunted Hill (1999)

Staring Ali Larter, Taye Diggs, Geffory Rush and Peter Gallagher, this movie runs an hour and thirty-three minutes long.  It is rated R for violence, language, and some nudity, but pretty much for the violence.

A remake of a classic entitled The House on Haunted Hill, this movie involves seven strangers drawn to a house for different reasons, a party for some, a million dollars for others, a sneaky homicidal plan for even others.  The house is actually an old insane asylum haunted by the evil doctor and his horrified patients.  The evil doctor performed several illegal and criminal acts on the patients until they revolted, setting fire to the hospital burning everyone alive.  Now those patients are looking for revenge and the doctor is looking for more people to preform his experiments on.  Modern day a party for a rich woman leads several strangers into the house where through a series of unfortunate incidents they become trapped and must find a way out.  The caretaker of the house wants out, he knows the evil that lives in the house and he knows if they don’t get out they will all die.  One by one things continue to happen, unexplained things, and one by one the hapless victims die.  Will they find a way out of the asylum, or will the doctor get to them first?

If you rent this or watch this expecting a real remake of the old movie with Vincent Price, you won’t find it.  The remake has very little to do with the original except the point that in the original the rich husband and wife hate each other and that the husband has plotted to kill his wife.  This version too has a husband and wife who despise each other are attempt to kill each other.  This movie however has actual ghosts, and they can be very scary.  Coming out at about the same time as The HauntingI expected this movie to deal with a house and not really care about the characters, however the caretaker (played by Chris Kattan) was played very well and you feel for this guy since he obviously knows what will happen if these characters stay in the house.  Kattan, who is known mostly for comedic characters, does scared very well.

My main problem with this movie is that they could have done so much more with the setting than they did, and the creepiness factor was so light.  Relying too much on the relationship between the husband and the wife to create suspense and leave the viewer guessing if maybe one of them is doing all of the crazy stuff backfired a little.  I wanted just a little more visually of the ghosts and the the “haunted” goings on in the asylum, or even maybe a few more snippets from the video inter-spliced into present day like it was still happening.  The fear factor could have been a lot higher if the scenery had been used more, and if there had been more happening supernaturally to the characters.

I recommend this movie because it was fun and set the same spirit of movie remakes like Thirteen Ghosts and The Haunting (although I liked this better than the haunting).  However if you want to see a remake exactly of the original House on Haunted Hill, then I can’t recommend this movie.

1 thought on “The House on Haunted Hill (1999)”

  1. My main problem with this film is its title. It’s called ‘The House on Haunted Hill’, but it was the house that was haunted, rather than the hill on which it stood. I know it doesn’t have the same ring, but it ought to have been called ‘The Haunted House on the Hill’.

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