The Old Dark House (1932) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Old Dark House (1932)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Frankenstein director James Whale turned J.B. Priestley's novel "Benighted" into a nerve-jangling tale (originally released in 1932) that became the template for all spooky-house chillers to come. Stranded travelers stumble upon a strange old house, and find themselves at the mercy of a highly eccentric and potentially dangerous family. This atmospheric thriller features an unforgettable post-Frankenstein horror role for Boris Karloff, as the hulking, disfigured butler Morgan. Also starring in early-career roles are Melvin Douglas, Charles Laughton, Raymond Massey and Gloria Stuart of Titanic.

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Melvyn Douglas
as Roger Penderell
Charles Laughton
as Sir William Porterhouse
Gloria Stuart
as Margaret Waverton
Lillian Bond
as Gladys DuCane
Lilian Bond
as Gladys DuCane
Ernest Thesiger
as Horace Femm
Eva Moore
as Rebecca Femm
Raymond Massey
as Philip Waverton
Brember Wills
as Saul Femm
Elspeth Dudgeon
as Sir Roderick Femm
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Critic Reviews for The Old Dark House

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (1)

Whale wrings potent suspense out of venturing into the shadows, and his technique still impresses ...

October 4, 2017 | Full Review…

A marvellous horror film which still retains the same sense of creeping awe.

November 8, 2018 | Full Review…

The film is shot through in almost every scene by a wholly individual sense of comic timing and bizarre juxtaposition.

July 5, 2018 | Full Review…

The Old Dark House was Whale's second horror film after 1931's Frankenstein and his return to the genre sees the director leaning fully in to its gothic tropes.

May 24, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

The brilliant cast, excellent set design and camerawork makes for something that verges on horror comedy in an unexpectedly delightful way.

May 22, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

This is a horror film so perfect that anyone who wants to make them should watch it before they start.

April 30, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Old Dark House

The humor is irregular, the tension almost nonexistent and the characters flat as they can be (some even falling in love after having just met!), and so this is amusing enough but didn't age very well, worthy only for those delightful performances by Ernest Thesiger and Eva Moore.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Ah yes, nothing like an old school black and white spooky mansion film. Going back to basics in other words, this is more of a character driven film, with fast and snappy dialogues, very dialogue driven indeed. Thanks to the cast of actors like Melvyn Douglas and Charles Laughton, as well as some truly great character actors, the movie doesn't really needs big spooks to keep you engaged.

Tsubaki Sanjuro
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer


This movie had great atmosphere, interesting characters and a seemingly scary plot, but unfortunately the ending is predictable and not at all scary.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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