High Spirits (1988)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

The owner of an Irish castle decides to attract visitors by falsely claiming that the building is haunted, only to have a pair of real ancestral spirits start causing trouble in this uneven attempt at fantasy-comedy. The story centers on Jack and Sharon (played by Steve Guttenberg and Beverly D'Angelo), naive American tourists who are initially unimpressed by the owner's attempts at fraud but become more interested in the real ghosts, Mary and Martin (played by Daryl Hannah and Liam Neeson). This is especially true for Jack, who falls in love with the beautiful Mary, despite several centuries' difference in their ages. After the film's initial unsuccessful release, people involved with the production blamed studio interference for damaging director Neil Jordan's original vision, although Jordan is better known as a director of quirky, dark dramas (Mona Lisa, The Crying Game, Interview With a Vampire, The Company of Wolves). For whatever reason, the end result was an awkward, forced comedy that more often than not falls flat, squandering a strong collection of talent.
Rating:
PG-13 (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre:
Comedy , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Media Home Entertainment

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Cast

Peter O'Toole
as Peter Plunkett
Daryl Hannah
as Mary Plunkett Brogan
Steve Guttenberg
as Jack Crawford
Beverly D'Angelo
as Sharon Brogan Crawford
Liam Neeson
as Martin Brogan
Peter Gallagher
as Brother Tony
Jennifer Tilly
as Miranda
Ray McAnally
as Plunkett Senior
Martin Ferrero
as Malcolm
Liz Smith
as Mrs. Plunkett
Tom Hickey
as Sampson
Tony Rohr
as Christy
Little John
as Gateman
Ruby Buchanan
as Great Aunt Nan
Preston Lockwood
as Great Uncle Peter
Hilary Reynolds
as Patricia
Aimee Delamain
as Great Granny Plunkett
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Critic Reviews for High Spirits

All Critics (12)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

High Spirits is a good time but the film is far from Jordan's best, and isn't quite what one would call "memorable", even with the fun effects and witty quips from O'Toole.

Full Review… | April 13, 2015

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 31, 2008
Empire Magazine

No excerpt available.

October 10, 2005
Fantastica Daily

Audience Reviews for High Spirits

Some dilapidated castle in Ireland seeks to renovate its image but selling to thrill-seeking Yankees the possibility that it may be a haunted castle. There's lots here that's good, Jordan most at home with the particularly Irish elements of the tale (O'Toole is great as the hapless castle owner) but there's one thing that's bad: Steve Guttenberg, and not because of Guttenberg himself. No. Its his part, his lines. Its as if the character was written for another movie, with no part in this one. The rest was okay stuff.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

So I'm betting this is a Neil Jordan film many haven't come across, a classically 80's production with a mix of your most well known 80's stars and some soon to be major stars. 80's golden boy Guttenberg is the lead here, alongside him are Beverly D'Angelo, Daryl Hannah, Jennifer Tilly, Peter Gallagher and Martin Ferrero, not forgetting British legends Peter O'Toole and Liz Smith with 'Fawlty Towers' star Connie Booth and Hollywood megastar Liam Neeson, hows that for a cast line up. The film is pretty spooktacular in a quirky 'Beetljuice' type fashion, crammed packed full of fun effects that admittedly now look pretty ropey but definitely part of the charm. Glorious location with the real Irish 'Dromore Castle' as the backdrop and a plot that focuses on Ireland's ghostly folklore in a family fun 'Addams Family' way. Some sequences are actually a little eerie though, the nuns with 'Jawa' like eyes, skeletal spectres flying around, various shots of the castle from afar and some nice interior corridor/room work makes you feel in the mood :) Lots of hokey set/model work which still just about works, some really nice corpse makeup in places, a good kooky soundtrack befitting Ireland and the supernatural element plus the odd good chuckle. Think of this as a slightly more grown up version of 'The Haunted Mansion', a nice sweet film with Daryl Hannah looking her best.

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Great little comedy/scare fest with a great cast!

Tim Salmons
Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

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