The House on Haunted Hill (1999)


The House on Haunted Hill (1999) Review

Every so often, most recently with Scream, a film will briefly try to make the horror genre something it's not --- like creative, entertaining, cool, or self-aware. But The House on Haunted Hill is not one of those films.

Instead, it's pretty much a copy of all the other haunted-house horror movies that have run briefly in theaters over the years (and then run on cable channels indefinitely, giving teenagers something to stare at for a minute or two before leaving the house or switching channels). I understand that the beast of cable programming must be fed, but I still don't understand why directors are still making new movies like this, given the thousands that have already been made. Why don't the cable channels just run old ones from the late 1980s that nobody remembers?

Five people are invited to a party at a deserted former institution for the criminally insane. They've been promised a million dollars --- if they get out alive. I could summarize some of the other clich├ęs in Haunted Hill, but anybody who's had cable for a while can probably do it for themselves.

There's nothing new or innovative about this movie except maybe for the baffling presence of a few name actors. Almost every actor or actress is haunted by a few B movies, and hopefully the careers of Diggs, Larter, and Kattan will get out alive. But nothing can explain or excuse the participation of Geoffrey Rush, who actually has won an Oscar, for God's sake. Faced with the pressure of following up his work in Shine and Shakespeare in Love, Rush choked, I guess.

I guess these movies are fun to make, but they're not interesting to watch. Please, no more!

Hunting and haunting.

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