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Haunted (1995)

 Originally Written
Sunday, November 12, 2006

I stumbled upon Haunted a few years ago when I decided to watch some of Kate Beckinsale's earlier films, and was pleasantly surprised at how good a film it turned out to be. Not being a big fan of the horror genre I was happy to discover this film wasn't your typical horror. In fact Haunted is more akin to a thriller or suspense and contains quite a few twists and turns to help make the film more interesting than scary.

Aidan Quinn is Professor David Ash, as a young boy his sister drowned while they were playing together outside of their home. It was a most unfortunate accident, and David has always felt he was responsible to the point than he began to be haunted by her image and her voice. Now grown, David is a professor of psychology and spends most of his time debunking the existence of ghosts, a profession he entered in with the express goal of proving to himself that his sister was indeed gone, and not haunting him.

Rather well known in his trade, due to the publishing of many books, David begins receiving letters from a Ms. Webb asking that he come to her home in Edbrook to help rid her of the spirits that have been haunting her for years. David is not entirely interested in catering to the insanities of an old woman, but for some reason the mention of the Edbrook Manor entices him and he agrees to go and see Ms. Webb.

When he arrives at Edbrook he meets the lovely Christina Mariell and her two brothers Robert and Simon who are the sole residents of Edbrook Manor after the death of their parents. Ms. Webb or Nanny Webb, as they call her, is the family’s maid and was their nanny when they were young. Christina expresses her deepest concern for Nanny Webb and hopes that David will be able to talk some sense into her.

At first David believes Nanny Webb is only hallucinating because he is unable to find anything out of the ordinary, that is until one night when someone seems to be standing outside his door making noises. David confronts the Mariell's the next morning yet they only claim it was probably rats, although David has a suspicion it might be one of them fooling around. The Mariell's are a rather strange group of characters and David notices that right from the start. Robert seems to spend most of his time painting his sister, in the nude, seems to be a little too close of a relationship with her, and is very blunt and overprotective of her. Simon is incredibly immature, always popping out of somewhere trying to scare people, which he claims is all in good fun and done to try and liven things up around the boring Manor. Christina is incredibly beautiful and flirtatious, of course David doesn't seem to mind her that much and it's clear Christina is very found of him.

As the story progresses David begins to start seeing things that he can't explain, as well as random appearances of his sister. Are they somehow connected or is the ongoing guilt of his sister's death beginning to grow so large that it's causing him to see things that aren't really there? Whatever it is, something strange is happening at Edbrook and its all the result of a dark secret that lies deep within the Mariell family.

Haunted is a surprising good film, with some very good acting and an extremely engrossing story that will keep you enthralled the entire time. What I like most about this film is it progresses fairly quickly and there are not a lot of dull moments. Adam Quinn is a little boring at times but it's a nice balance with the three rather strange Mariell siblings. Kate Beckinsale again impresses me with her acting in one of her earlier roles and I'm actually surprised that I've enjoyed more of her older films than her newer ones.

My only complaint about Haunted is the R rating, and the rather corny ending. The lone reason for the R rating is the multiple nude scenes and a sex scene that is a little more graphic than the one in Underworld Evolution. If you think your going to see Kate naked, don't get your hopes up, it's not actually her but a body double, which is clear to see because they never show Kate's face and the rest of her body at the same time. I really saw no purpose in the nudity whatsoever and personally think it ruins a film that could have been enjoyed by the whole family. Also the ending was too corny for me, I enjoyed the twist near the end but the last five minutes of the film seemed to be rushed and thrown together in a manner which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Overall, Haunted is a very entertaining and well written horror/suspense. It's not a very scary film but I thought it was written well enough to keep most viewers quite interested and entertained. Another nice diamond in the rough for Kate Beckinsale, that doesn't receive a lot of attention in addition to, Cold Comfort Farm, another older Kate film I highly recommend checking out. In end, Haunted is a pretty good film and still remains one of my more favorite horror/suspense films by sticking to the basics of the genre without going overboard, and does a good job of carrying out an interesting story with entertaining characters.


8/10




3 comments:

  1. This is a real nice movie. I liked it too. Can you tell me where can I watch it online?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. Try searching "watch haunted 1995 online" on google.com you might find something in the first couple hits. As far as streaming it online I don't know, just try different combos of searching. Otherwise give it a rent on Netflix, or even just buy the thing. You can get it cheap on Half.com, probably cost you less than the time searching to find it online.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I thought it was great. The cinematography was excellent and the set decorating was artistic and classy. Great dialogue and the lovely Kate Beckinsale was at her best. One of my all-time favorite ghost stories--it seems they could make a sequel to this.

    ReplyDelete

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