House on Haunted Hill - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

House on Haunted Hill Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 23, 2011
The House on Haunted Hill remake is a decent remake of a classic film. The film has a decent enough cast and director William Malone crafts a chilling, gory ride with this remake. The remake is not bad for what it is, and I've seen worse. For a horror remake, it's quite decent and entertaining. The film isn't as bad as other remakes, but it lacks the power of the original of course. The film relies on the gore factor, and that's really the standout of the film. The film really doesn't offer anything that great, but is pretty gory. S, if you love gory horror films, then this film is for you. The cast are decent at best, with some questionable castings decisions such as Chris Kattan. This isn't an awful remake, but it's nowhere near the original. I very much enjoyed the original However; this is pretty decent, considering the amount of bad horror remakes that came in the years following this films release. The film like I said offers plenty of gore and will appeal to gore fans. However, in terms of good scares, like the original offered, this remake is fairly weak in offering good, effective scares. There are some tense moments here and there, but never anything really scary. This is a mildly entertaining film that offers a decent viewing experience for horror fans. However in the end, this is a forgettable horror film, and is a remake that like so many others doesn't live up to the original.
Super Reviewer
½ October 2, 2011
I just remember that this movie wasn't good. That's all.
Super Reviewer
September 26, 2011
One of those horror remakes where computer technology is subsituted for scare factor and one spends the length of the project thinking about how you would have done it better.
Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 2006
Director William Malone creates some atmosphere and suspense during the first hour, but everything is almost completely ruined by awful ending. There's some good gore,striking visuals and atmospheric sets,but the conclusion is absolutely lame (the CGI effects look really fake!).
Horror remake of William Castle's 1959 House on Haunted Hill.
Super Reviewer
½ July 15, 2007
The "House" had really great atmosphere and layout, with its myriad of haunted deathtraps. The set designers did a great job. But it wasn't really a house; it was a mental institution, so points are lost there. I never got how a place abandoned for so long could have functioning electricity and water. The blood and gore effects were cool. I liked the characters. There were nice nods to the original with Jeffrey Rush's "Mr. Price" character doing a nice Vincent Price tribute, plus the guns in the little coffin boxes. The murderous marital dispute got a bit tired. I liked all the guests in the house and thought all the actors did a good job. The poor CGI shadow monster was terribly done; it's asymmetrical form and blending made it look badly overlaid, even for 1999 CGI effects. The other ghosts were effectively creepy, notably Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Vannacutt. The movie wasn't scary, but it was a fun amusement-park sort of ride.
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2006
A hugely disappointing amateur Horror film with no originality. Famke Janssen has appeared in some pretty good quality films, alongside some good quality Actors, I can?t really see why she would take on a film of this standard.

For me it was too corny and very Scooby-doo ish.
Super Reviewer
½ January 24, 2007
People always want to dump on a film because, these days, most films that come out are remakes in one form or another. I'm guilty of it myself and it really is a shame that there isn't much left of originality anymore. It's a tough business trying to come up with something that somebody else hasn't already thought of. So I suppose remaking or reimagining previous work is ok. I'm a big fan of the theory that films that were not well made the first time should get a shot at being remade before any of the classics are tampered with. However, some films fall down the middle between being classic films and bad films. The original House On Haunted Hill is just such a film. By today's standards, it is a pretty tame affair. Even in it's time, the films that were not-so standards from that bygone era were doing much less conventional things and trying new ideas and ways of storytelling. Filmmakers Jacques Tourneur, Alfred Hitchcock, Mario Bava and Dario Argento were coming out of this era and into a new breed of filmmaking that much more influential in most respects. But the question is always asked "Does a film's quality (it's special effects, acting, editing, lighting, etc) make it qualify as a bad film?" My answer is no. It all relies on the opinion of the viewer. Opinions are not universal and everyone can have their own. That's what the wonderful thing is about seeing films is.

So William Castle's original House On Haunted Hill may not be, in my opion, a genre classic, nor is it a horrible film. It falls somewhere in between. It scared me as a child and delights me now as an adult. Just about everything about it is dated and difficult to relate to on an esoteric level I suppose, but it's too damned charming and entertaining to dismiss entirely. I hold it in high regard as one of my favorite horror films, even if it isn't a true classic by definition, or if its creator was much more concerned with atmosphere. Not just in his films but with the audiences that saw it. Anyone familiar with William Castle or has seen the film Matinee will know what lengths the man went to to entertain his audience. Anyways, with all this in mind (I didn't mean to write a book, I promise), I give you my take on the remake of House On Haunted Hill.

To update a cult favorite, I believe firmly you have to stick with the original formula to some degree. A few strangers are invited to spend the night in a haunted house, and if they survive the night, they each receive one million dollars (only ten thousand dollars in the original). Pretty cooky concept, wouldn't you say? But the idea reaches out to the audience on a very basic level. If you were handed such a proposal, would you do it? Of course you would. You would be a fool not to because that is a lot of money and if all you have to do is spend the night in a creepy old house...well, I know I'd do it. So the movie works for an audience on that level. Storywise, little has changed from the original until the third act, which I won't spoil.

When it comes to character, you have to spread the butter kinda thick. Give the audiences people they can relate to, people they feel uneasy about and people that make them laugh. This film has all of that. There's been some criticism that everyone in the film is thinly drawn because not a lot of information is given about them, only the basics, ala most horror films. It's my belief that their performances carry themselves and you don't need heavy exposition or background information. It's all there in who they are as characters without deep explanation, and that's pretty important.

As far as atmosphere, this film oozes it. You're given a brief but disturbing look at what has taken place in this house before you spend the night in it and it keeps you looking around the corners. The set design is absolutely superb. Dark and creepy, right down to the fireplace in the makeshift parlor. The lighting is a little too bright at times (my feeling is shadow is creepier than actually seeing everything) but that doesn't detract much from the atmosphere. I always felt that the basement of the house should have been underlit, like in the original. Other than that, it all works well.

When it comes to direction and editing, I believe the latter is just a bit lacking. I think William Malone gives wonderful strong direction to his actors and they all give solid performances, particularly Geoffrey Rush and Chris Kattan, but I believe his editing instincts may need a bit of polish. I've seen some of the footage that was not in the final cut and I believe some of it belongs in the final edit. Perhaps an extended version of the movie will appear someday and some of this footage can see daylight.

I shouldn't comment on this because I'm talking about the film, but I always loved the original teaser trailer for this movie. I still think it's one of the best horror trailers I've ever seen. It sets up the atmosphere and tone of film perfectly.

I know I should talk about a lot of the plot specifics, but I'd feel like I'd spoil it for those who haven't seen it because even though it was a major release, it's still underlooked 10 years later. So if you're in the mood for a very creepy horror film with some real atmosphere, you owe it to yourself to see this one. It may not be a "classic" either, but it's damned enjoyable and one of the best horror films in recent years, not to mention one of the finest remakes out there.
Super Reviewer
August 15, 2009
From what a lot of people were telling me about "House on Haunted Hill," I was expecting it to be a real good movie, and in some ways I agree, and in other ways I don't agree. A man offers five people a million dollars if they can make it to the next morning in the haunted house. If some people don't make it, the people who do make it will also get those persons' checks for a million dollars.
First of all, the movie has good effects, especially the beginning of the movie with the amusement park pranks. The ghosts and the killings are also well done. One thing I noticed about the people who were in the movie is that only two or three of them were good actors in the movie, the others weren't good at all. The other thing I didn't like about the movie is that if you don't see it from the beginning and pay close attention, you probably won't understand the movie that well. But for the most part, it's a decent horror movie, but not the best. I recommend anybody who likes horror movies to watch "House on Haunted Hill," but I wouldn't really recommend buying it. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000. I was generous at the time, I actually hated the movie. The haunted house and horror did nothing for me and the acting was among the worst I've ever seen.
Super Reviewer
July 8, 2009
A haunted house (mental asylum) story that embraces the camp, the scares and good solid characters. Our main protagonists are the fantastic Rush and Janssen. A couple that genuinely hate each other to the point where their playful banter on offing each other seems to carry sincere malice. The film doesn't leave it there, it does hint at why these two are together and has moments of real love between the two, even if they act ashamed of it. No character is a simple horror cliche that "deserves" to die. Rush seems evil and then does something heroic. Diggs seems perverted and then shows kindness, and so on. The climax is a fitting end, with an abundance of twists for both the characters and the house itself. The final spreading of the "darkness" is a bit of a disappointment as the effects look flat and painted on. Still, the film is fun, thrilling and has some very creepy imagery.
Super Reviewer
½ February 2, 2008
an enjoyable romp of a remake, far better than its horror remake peers of the time: "The Haunting" and "13 Ghosts"
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2007
I was scared in theater. But it's not good, for sure.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2007
Lacks the campy sense of fun that came with the original, but this is pretty good in its own right. Scary and fun. It's like a snapshot of horror before it got all jaded and 'extreme'.
Super Reviewer
May 14, 2007
A haunted house movie that's not scary, with all kinds of last-minute stuff that pops up just in time to rescue our heroes from danger. Total waste of time.
Super Reviewer
April 27, 2007
it accually scarred me i didnt finish it yet
Super Reviewer
½ March 31, 2007
A very underrated horror film. Very violent and gory at times and has plenty of shocks and jumps along the way. A very cool modern update!
Super Reviewer
March 12, 2007
An entertaining remake of an old horror classic that retains a modicom of the hokey charm of the original. Famke Janssen and Geoffery Rush's snidey banter is great fun and there are some nice images and decent suspense in the build up. But, of course, it buggers it up by resorting to the usual crap CGI monster at the end . Not bad though.
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2006
Not bad but the ending fell a little flat.
Super Reviewer
June 11, 2006
What a great plan...getting a movie with Corky Ramano and Jean Grey.
Super Reviewer
½ May 18, 2006
The ghost of Chirs Katan saves the day. Now I dare you to watch it.
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