Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Haunted Revisited Review
A professor in the business of disproving the existence of ghosts receives an invitation to investigate the alleged haunting at Edbrook House and embarks on chilling journey of discovery.
Based on James Herbert's 1988 novel Haunted and the character of David Ash who appears in several of Herberts books this is a old fashion ghost story directed by veteran director Lewis Gilbert. Without drawing comparisons/differences to the book Timothy Prager, Bob Kellett and Lewis Gilbert's adaptation is creepy enough and at the time of its release the twist was still pretty fresh. Nevertheless, it shares many elements with The Woman in Black novel/film and The Others (2001) based on The Turn of the Screw (1898) to name a few.
The few effects are sufficient but it works better when practical and old fashion camera tricks are used. Due to the period setting it is reminiscent of an Agatha Christie Poirot/ Miss Marple outing but this adds to the charm of Gilberts vision. The film is wonderfully shot, exteriors, internal sets of Edbrook House, cottages, train stations and outhouse are nicely recreated/utilised. There is a crisp bygone British ambiance which add to the 1928 backdrop and makes the ghostly goings-on more palatable.
Given the small main cast ensemble it's an achievement it retains the viewers attention throughout. The film presents David Ash with a clean-cut image that Aidan Quinn executes with ease. The interaction with his sister is heart-warming and his decent into the supernatural or madness is subtlety convincing. Christina Mariell played by Kate Beckinsale handles the range of immaturity, sensuality and manipulation fittingly. Beckinsale is on put on show here, naked portraits, love making and skinny dipping - surprisingly it avoids gratuitousness thanks to the filming, performance and the tales framework. Both brothers are adequately portrayed with Anthony Andrews having an edge over his co-star Alex Lowe who delivers the jump scares . Notable are actors John Gielgud's Dr. Doyle and Anna Massey who in retrospect both emote some perfect reactions given the context of the ominous story.
Haunted delivers some chilling moments but not enough investigation and too many false scares. That said, it's an entertaining traditional ghost yarn with a touch of class.