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The story do involves a professor (Aidan Quinn) who doesn't believe in ghosts and meditations and likes to face people that it's all pranks being put up. But once invited at the Mariell family he becomes involved in a web of ghosts and a girl (Kate Beckinsale) who seduces him and isn't shy to show her body. i was rather surprised to see Kate in her nudies.
It's a slow mover with a strange family made for people who are into old school sixties ghost flicks just on the edge of a Gothic flick. For me just a bit too much of a love story involved.
Gore 0/5 Nudity 1,5/5 Effects 0/5 Story 2,5/5 Comedy 0/5
The story is set in 1928. After a drowning tragedy in his childhood, Professor David Ash (Aidan Quinn) has become a well-known debunker of psychics and the paranormal. He travels to the countryside after receiving an invitation from the Mariell family to investigate a supposed haunting at their home, Edbrook House. At the manor, he encounters the wild, but close-knit Mariell family: Robert (Anthony Andrews), Simon (Alex Lowe) and their sister Christina (Kate Beckinsale). He also meets their very scared nanny, Tess Webb (Anna Massey).
Without too giving too much away, along with bumps in the night, David also detects an undercurrent of incest, and is exposed to things that are either real or just figments of his imagination. In fact, the film cheats quite a bit, unashamedly mixing up the real and the unreal.
"Haunted" has picture-perfect locations and a picture-perfect cast. Aiden Quinn is a solid presence as he goes from initial disbelief to acceptance of things beyond his control – he has about the best shocked stare in the business. Kate Beckinsale is head-turningly beautiful, and gives an uninhibited performance here, although the lack of inhibition was probably more on the part of her body double. Anna Massey gives a very haunted performance as Nanny.
The film was directed by Lewis Gilbert of "Alfie" fame, and "Haunted" shows an assured touch, for most of the way at least.
The special effects are adequate without being fantastic but I think they let the film down at the end. A great ghost story depends more on mood than special effects; some of the best ones hardly have any special effects at all, just look at "The Uninvited", "The Innocents" and "The Sixth Sense".
"Haunted" falls short of those films but it gets you going for a while, it only falters at the end where instead of delivering a knockout blow, it gives us a slap with wet flannel instead.
HAUNTED certainly isn't for all tastes. It's a film which prefers to drag you into the world and mind of the lead character before all of the supernatural stuff starts happening, so we get some good build-up like the fake séance which Quinn is only too happy to expose. As David Ash, Quinn is a revelation; he gives a very strong performance of a man gradually becoming more and more disturbed by the seemingly inexplicable events surrounding him. In fact, I've never seen him better, and I would say that his is one of the best genre performances in the past ten years (and I'm beginning to wonder if he and Rutger Hauer share the same set of eyes - they're so alike it's creepy).
As the film gradually progresses, the isolated setting of the country estate grows on the viewer and fine use is made of the English countryside. As well as the horror, a charming romance begins to blossom between Quinn and the female lead, Kate Beckinsale. Beckinsale, an actress I've never much cared for, is brilliant in the film, creating a vulnerable but sexy woman with her own dark secrets - as witnessed in the hints of incest that the film points at occasionally. The actual supernatural events involve a door being held shut although nobody is on the other side; then Quinn is mysteriously pushed into the local lake and nearly drowned; finally, weird, spontaneous fires begin to break out and disappear again at a moment's notice. It comes as no surprise that the mansion begins reliving its past, but HAUNTED puts a fresh and interesting spin on the ghost story tale. The special effects are limited and kept to a thankful minimum, but there are some effective touches like faces in the flames and, my personal favourite; an exceedingly frightening ghost made of dust or some such material.
The movie is bolstered by a scene-setting score and good performances from the supporting characters as well as the leads. Anthony Andrews is adept at creating a gentlemanly character with a hint of depravity about him, and it's good to see John Gielgud back on screen as the family doctor. Anna Massey is also fine as the lonely, frightened old woman in the family. The film has one of those fantastic twist endings we're so familiar with in recent years, and the final feeling is one of poignancy rather than horror. Yet rarely do I watch a film and finish with a smile on my face after really enjoying getting caught up in the lives and loves of the fictional characters - old-fashioned horror fans, seek this one out.
Lewis Gilbert had directed films since the 1940s, including some entries in the James Bond series, and this was towards the end of his career. The movie is not his best work, and received mixed reviews. It does deserve credit for the casting, as Kate Beckinsale had not really taken off yet. The film has added appeal in retrospect because of this.
I think the mixed reviews are warranted, as the movie never seems fully... something. I don't even know the word. It comes across as a middling made-for-TV film in many respects, rather than a full-blown theatrical attraction.
However in the film many crucial bits are missing or have been totally altered. The vital precursor to the main plot, regarding Ash's sister was changed completely, as she was portrayed in the film as kind and benevolent whereas in the book she was viciously cruel to Ash whilst alive and dead. The whole point being that his dead sister and the ghostly family gang up on Ash to a prove him wrong and drive him mad. This aspect is mainly omitted.
I can't see why the the film was reset to the twenties. Again in the book Ash is a flawed character - seedy, alcoholic and guilt ridden not a dashing professional. As eluded to elsewhere the incest angle between brother and sister was quite an invention of the film and may have been included as an excuse to portray much female nudity both real and canvas born. Many of the details of the book that show Ash's increasing horror that the family are phantoms, such as a one sided conversation on a tape recorder and the bed he shared with Christina obviously having been slept in by only him are brushed over.
A whole episode in the book where Ash does debunk some hoaxers in a supposedly haunted church is missed out too.
Admittedly as a stand alone ghost movie it is not bad but it cannot be called a close adaption of the book.
This film has an impeccable pedigree - a hugely respectable cast, and a story by established horror author James Herbert. And, as far as performance and story are concerned, I don't have much by way of criticism.
But maybe paying for a high profile cast meant that there wasn't much left in the budget for little thinks like special effect and decent film stock. Because the broadcast I watched was very grainy, and the effects were distinctly dodgy.
Was reasonably entertaining, however.
Movie will mostly be remembered (by men, especially) for Kate Beckinsale. This was one of her first big screen appearances and she is stunningly beautiful, and delivers a solid performance.
Decent performance too from Aidan Quinn.
Cast also includes Sir John Gielgud in a supporting role. He is there to give the movie some credibility and star-power.
The story is excellent with an astonishing twist at the end, the exteriors and interiors are exquisite, and the actors are excellent!
As I have ticked the "spoiler" box, I can discuss the twist here, can't I..? My only reservation, is that the type of ghost in movies with this twist in the end - the "the person I have been associating with was really a ghost all the time" - goes against the normal Western European notion of ghosts.
We do not think of spirits as solid bodies that can eat, drink, move around objects in the real world, and even have sex with humans. We think of them as ethereal, transparent... and emitting a cold, which would make it very unpleasant to sleep with them! :-) So, every time you watch a movie with this kind of plot, you have to buy into the foreign "solid, human ghosts" notion - that are more like zombies really.
Very well written movie and very well produced. I wish they would make more like these.
This movie is about a Professor at a British university who is requested by an older maid/servant to come to a mansion out in the suburbs of Great Britain. The Professor has written a book trying to convince everybody there are no ghosts or paranormal true events on this planet. He is in for the surprise and shock of his life.
Professor Ash decides to take a visit to this historic mansion at the request of the aging maid/housekeeper and encounters events he would have never envisioned.
My roommate, God bless her soul, saw this with me 9 years ago just before she died. She said this was one of the most scariest but adorable movies she had ever seen.
Myself? One of the most underrated Mysteries/Thrillers/Paranormal/Love Story movies I had ever seen and loved it. A must see and one of those movies that will keep your attention throughout. A lot to like about this one. I don't care what the current rating say about this movie...I adored it.
I gave it a 10 out of 10. Very picky about movies and consider this a winner in my book:)
Following the accidental death of his twin sister when they were just kids, David Ash (Quinn) has grown up to be a parapsychologist determined to debunk the existence of ghosts. Receiving an invitation from the Mariell family to investigate supernatural activity at their family home, Edbrook House, David accepts and quickly finds his life flipped upside down
It's from the old fashioned school of horror, a period piece of some worth, but not one for anyone looking to be scared out of their wits. Actually the novel by the late great James Herbert was becalmed when judged by his superb standards, so it really will help any potential first time viewer to go into this expecting a more ethereal chiller than anything else.
There's an air of romanticism constantly hanging in the air, and with Gilbert nodding towards the likes of The Haunting for his scares and Don't Look Now for the meditation on grief angle, it's a film of mixed blessings. Also nice to see very good period design for the 1920s setting, while Roberts' photography skilfully brings beauty to the English countryside and murkier tones for the inner workings of Edbrook House.
Cast are fine, with Quinn and a perky Beckinsale creating good sensual chemistry, and Andrews and Lowe are suitably odd as the clearly off- kilter Mariell brothers. Massey, however, is not challenged by her role and Gilegud is only really filing in for an easy money cameo.
It gets away from itself a little in the final stretch, where it's not helped by some shoddy effects work, but there's good value to be had in the picture. With grief, guilt, redemption and incest bubbling away thematically, and the spectral visage of David's dead sister haunting the edges of the frame, film never lacks for literate effort or a sense of unease. The book is much better, mind. 7/10
In its atmosphere (so important for a suspense movie) "Haunted" achieves a very good balance of whimsy and dread. The sets are excellent, the pacing good, the story very compelling. Where the movie fails is in its abrupt, unsatisfying conclusion. And it must also be said that, while the title "Haunted," does work on a couple of different levels, it is still a lame title for a ghost movie.
Mostly set in the 1920s, it features an outsized English manor house, a professor from "Camberley" College, dressing for dinner, tea at 5pm, a possible ghost, bumps in the night, and lots of family secrets--some of them a little too shocking for Agatha Christie.
The performances are top-notch. I've always loved Kate Beckinsale, and it's nice to think that people who only know her from those awful "Underworld" movies may see this and discover she's an actress. Aidan Quinn is also a favorite; even though he tends to be somewhat wooden, I forgive him because he's such an appealing presence. Anthony Andrews is amazing: one of those actors that inhabit a role, as they say. And can John Gielgud give a bad performance? I don't think so.
The story is great, if a little thin here and here. I won't spoil the plot twists, but at the end you're likely to be left with nagging questions about why certain characters did certain things in light of certain facts that are now known.
But don't let that stop you from watching it. In fact, it'll probably encourage you to watch it again. It does me: this is one of those movies I'll watch any time it's on cable.
btw, of all the movies people have compared this to, nobody's mentioned the similarities to "Angels and Insects." A&I is not a ghost story, but it shares with this movie the setting, the atmosphere, and some of the more interesting plot elements.
I have never been a great fan of Aidan Quinn or Kate Beckinsale, though their chemistry here makes the film very watchable, and Quinn is acceptable as a hapless if not quite lovable hero. Beckinsale is also on generally good, charming form and, to be fair to both actors, there are several points in the script where the dialogue is so shallow and blunt, that Laurence Olivier and Gielgud himself (who appears and is wonderful as the local doctor) would have struggled to bring any more life to them without making the words seem silly and unrealistic.
The show-stealer, as per usual in almost everything he is in, is undoubtedly Anthony Andrews, as the understatedly creepy yet charmingly alluring elder brother. Andrews is a very-much underrated actor as it is, but his performance and changes in attitude towards Quinn as the guest in their sprawling home, very much makes the film and most of the tension therein.
Anna Massey too is wonderful as the housekeeper/nanny and creates a very sorry character with whom one instantly feels sympathy, playing out her pivotal role right until the very end with her usual grace and unabashed talent.
To one who knows the ins and outs of modern twists and turns in movies and stories such as these, the ending is not altogether unpredictable, but the well-disguised yet compelling hints throughout make it all much more exciting, and the scenes of ghostly appearance are, for a change, nicely inserted without too much musical decoration or unnecessary special effects, making the whole thing very watchable. The sets and locations are stunning and elegant at all times, bringing up both the believability and charm of the story. This film, overall, falls into the category of a sadly overlooked, but wonderful fireside story, which deserves more publicity than it gets.
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.
The film itself is a return to the slightly cliché but still effective ghost themes, with creaking doors, bumps in the night, etc. The film's story and narrative from Frank Herbert's novel is absolutely brilliant and there are enough twists to keep anybody entertained. Aidan Quinn is brilliant in his role, and Kate Beckinsale shines in one of her earliest roles.
I feel though that this film has been marginally overlooked and ignored by many and it does deserve a watch for anyone interested in psychological horrors. The film itself is out of distribution but copies are still available as Dutch imports (with English audio). All in all, a fantastic film!
The only thing that was confusing to me was how Aidan Quinn's character could have such close contact with the ghosts. They appeared to him as though they were really alive. With the appearance of his dead sister leading him to the truth. It was a little too far fetched for me. Not that ghost movies should be truthful, but they should at least be slightly plausible. At least that's how I feel.
In "Haunted" we have Chicago Uiversity psychology professor, and famed debunker of the paranormal, Dr. David Ash,Aidan Quinn, travel England back in 1928 to investigate the Mariell Mansion that's reported to be haunted by an evil spirit by one of its occupants Nanny Webb, Anna Massey. David soon falls in love with the lady of the house Christian Mariell, Kate Beckinsale, who meets him at the train station and drives him to the mansion.
At the spacious mansion David is introduced to Christina's two brothers the overly serious Robert, Anthony Andrews, and joker and in house comedian Simon, Alex Lowe, who together with Christina spend almost all their time doing nothing but partying around and skinny-dipping in the in the outdoor lake. Even though the astute David sees nothing supernatural in Nanny Webb's observations he does see that the Mariell children are somehow totally indifferent to her as if she doesn't even exist at all. As for Nanny Webb she's terrified of them even more then the ghost of Mrs. Mariell that she claims to be haunting the Mansion!
***SPOILER ALERT*** David himself becomes convinced in Nanny Webb's statements of supernatural occurrences at the Mariell Mansion not by seeing the late Mrs. Mariell but in seeing his own long deceased twin sister Juliet, Victoria Shalet. Juliet is trying to get David to leave the premises before something very awful and terrible happens to him. Something that's been planned in advance to happen to David by the Mariell children who are not what they at first seem to be!
Nanny Webb has carried this terrible secret about what really happened to the late Mrs. Mariell since back on that cold February day in 1923. It was the circumstances of Mrs. Mariell's tragic death and what she did after that that has driven Nanny Webb to the brink of madness. A madness that was soon to engulf David Ash in a web of incest murder and arson that will change his opinions about haunted houses ghosts and the supernatural forever!
Aidan Quinn on request of an old lady came to the town to help them get rid of ghosts.The atmosphere is creepy & suspenseful.Nothing is what it seems until the hero discovers the shocking truth.The strongest link of the movie is Kate Beckinsale who made the movie looks beautiful with her flawless acting & skin show.
I never understood why this movie did not work inspire of great story line,good acting and subtle direction.