Haunted (1995)

They do still make films like this (well, they were still doing it until 1995, anyway), but the problem is that no-one goes to see them. Take Haunted, for example. American leading man, saucy leading lady, 1920s setting, English countryside, spooky goings-on. It could have been made by Hammer in the mid-1960s. Instead it's a quaint look back at a movie making time long gone, with some absolutely shite CGI effects at the end.

If they'd stuck a bit closer to the book, kept it in the present day and left in some of James Herbert's uncompromising violence, things might have been a bit better. As it is, not only are we still waiting for a really good Herbert adaptation (Fluke? No! The Survivor? Nope. Rats - Night Of Terror? I think not.) but we haven't seen anything re-ignite the Gothic British Horror Film either. No bugger went to see this, so any hope that people might still be interested died along with the box office takings.

However, it's worth a look - if only because the gorgeous Miss Beckinsale insists on shedding her clothes at every opportunity. Aidan Quinn is a man haunted by his dead sister, yet insists on debunking the idea of ghosts whenever he can. He's contacted by an elderly woman who reckons she's plagued by evil spirits, and travels into the Great British Countryside to sort her out.

Once there he meets up with nanny and the family she shares a house with. But all is not right - out of the three youngsters in the house, one bloke's a complete loon, another's a bit evil, and the girl (Beckinsale) seems a bit too close to her brothers (especially the loon), if you know what I mean.

After much strange goings-on, it turns out that it's Beckinsale and her brothers who are the ghosts, after dying in a fire many years ago. It's all very nice, and brings to mind old classics like The Devil Rides Out and The Ghoul. However, it's not particularly gripping. The book's much better. As are those two films I've just mentioned.

Director: Lewis Gilbert Writer(s): (in credits order) James Herbert (novel) Timothy Prager and Bob Kellett and Lewis Gilbert

Cast: Aidan Quinn - David Ash, Kate Beckinsale - Christina Mariell, Anthony Andrews - Robert Mariell, John Gielgud - Doctor Doyle, Anna Massey - Nanny Tess Webb, Alex Lowe - Simon Mariell, Geraldine Somerville - Kate, Victoria Shalet - Juliet Ash, Linda Bassett - Madame Brontski, Liz Smith - Old Gypsy Woman, Peter England - Young David, Alice Douglas - Clare, Hilary Mason - Elderly Lady, Edmund Moriarty - Liam, Emily Hamilton - Mary


Last updated: February 23, 2010

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