Haunting, The
PG-13
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -2

Eleanor (Lili Taylor), Nell for short, has been caught in a kind of purgatory for 11 years, taking care of her ailing mother. But after her mother dies, Nell finds out her mothers house will be sold. And she has nowhere else to go. A mysterious phone caller tells her about a newspaper ad seeking participants for a medical study on insomnia. The study is to be conducted at a stately mansion called Hill House. But upon arrival at the house, she and the other participants, Theo (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Luke (Owen Wilson), sense that something is not right about this study. Is Dr. Marrow (Liam Neeson), the research scientist, really doing a study on insomnia? Could anyone sleep in such a creepy house? Built decades ago, supposedly to make children happy, Hill Houses majestic halls are not ringing today with the sound of children laughing. With heart-pounding mystery and suspense, THE HAUNTING explodes with special effects and surprises that are sure to make you jump out of your seat. Anyone going to see this film had better bring someone along to hold onto.

With good old-fashioned suspense and surprise, THE HAUNTING scares without a lot of gore. One of the doctors assistants get her face cut by a broken steel string from a musical instrument and the doctors hand is cut badly by glass. Blood pours out of a statue and bloody footprints lead Nell to different places in the mansion. A stone hand from a statue grabs the doctor and almost drowns him in a pond. Nell is pinned in her bed by wooden spikes and Luke is pinned in a car by steel spikes stuck through the roof. The most gruesome scene is when a man is decapitated suddenly, but this is shown quickly and without bloodshed. The story references purgatory, hell, demons and shows manifestations of spirits several times. And Nell communicates with the spirits of children and the houses previous owner. The dialogue is comparatively mild, except for many regular profanities spoken during tense and threatening scenes. This remake of a classic horror tale manages to scare with a minimum of blood and carnage. However, with the prevalence of irreverent language and paranormal activity, we cannot recommend THE HAUNTING.

Preview Reviewer: Cliff McNeely
Distributor: Dreamworks, 100 Universal Plaza, Bldg. 477, Universal City, CA 91608

Summary
Crude Language: Several (7) times Mild 5, Moderate 2
Obscene Language: Few (4) times (s-word 2, other 2)
Profanity: Many (21) times Regular 14 (G, J, Swear to G), Exclamatory 7 (Oh My G, Oh G)
Violence: Many times Moderate to Severe (face cut by steel string, bloody footprints, blood from statues mouth, man almost drowned, spikes pin woman in bed, man trapped in car, severe/bloody hand cut, man decapitated, evil spirit terrorizes people and causes destruction)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None; Near Nudity: Few times (woman in revealing clothing and lingerie)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Mild flirting between man and woman
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Communicating with spirits of dead, evil spirit terrorizes people and causes destruction, references to Purgatory, Heaven and Hell
Running Time: 125 minutes
Intended Audience: Older Teens and Adults

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