Haunted (1995)
By: J.R. McNamara on December 7, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Roadshow (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 93 minutes
The Movie
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Starring: Aidan Quinn, Kate Beckinsale, Anthony Andrews, John Gielgud
Screenplay: Timothy Prager, Bob Kellett, Lewis Gilbert (Based on the novel by James Herbert)
Country: USA/UK
James Herbert is a wonderful writer. His novels such as The Rats series, Sepulchre and The Spear and many others have terrified horror readers for many years, and will for many years to come. Unfortunately, his novels that have been adapted to film have not been so successful in their ability to frighten; in fact a few of them have even been laughable (no matter how hard you try, Daschunds dressed up as rats are just not going to cut the mustard). Directed by Lewis Gilbert, who directed Moonraker and The Spy Who Loved Me, from a script by himself with Timothy Prager and Bob Kellett, Haunted is an example of a tragic fact: sometimes a film just doesn't work.

1928, Professor David Ash (Aiden Quinn) is a ghost-buster of sorts, spending his days debunking phony psychics and bogus hauntings. He is invited to the property named Edbrook, where elderly house keeper Nanny Tess Webb (Anna Massey) claims she is haunted by ghosts, who torment her day in and day out. Upon arriving at Edbrook, David meets the Marriell family, the delightful Christina (Kate Beckinsale) and her brothers Robert (Anthony Andrews) and Simon (Alex Lowe) and begins work on discovering the mystery of the 'ghosts' of the estate. What he discovers chills him to the bone, especially when his sister, long dead, appears…

Creepy in places, but in the post J-horror and M. Night Shamalayan ghost story time, it has really lost a lot of its effectiveness. The performances by the leads are quite good, and Kate Beckinsale as usual, is beautiful to watch. There is no doubt that England is the place to make period pieces such as this. The scenic English countryside is exquisite and the sets are wonderful, even the props, such as the car that Beckinsale drives are marvelous; it is just a shame that these elements don't combine to make the script more attention-grabbing.
Bright and vivid, but still with a lot of interference on the picture, this 4:3 transfer is ordinary, even poor.
Adequate Dolby Digital AC3 Stereo is all this disc can offer…ho-hum.
Extra Features
The Verdict
An above average novel made into an average movie and then put onto a below average disc makes for a low scoring DVD. Really, wait for it to play late at night on TV.
Movie Score
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