Eight years after the millionaire Mr. Price rented Hill House for a macabre birthday party, a team of researchers dares to come in, looking for a precious statue, a satanic idol who is believed to possess demonic powers.
When an eccentric millionaire offer a group of opposites $1,000,000 to spend the night in a so called "Haunted House" with a murderous past, they figure it is a quick way to get quick money and leave. All of them are sure it is some made up story just to mess with their heads a little and test their courage. But, once they stay in the house they start to think about the mistake they made in coming there when mysterious things start to happen.Written by
The movie is set in the present yet when the hospital was shut down in 1931, electroconvulsive therapy (electro-shock treatment) was not yet administered. It wouldn't be until 1937 which it was first used. See more »
Price didn't make the list; the house did... 'Cause she's a vengeful, stupid whore!
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The Warner Bros. logo is grey in color and is surrounded by thunder and lightning. See more »
Due to numerous circumstances (i.e. running time constraints and what not) a great deal of footage was excised from this motion picture. Three of the most important scenes were returned for the DVD release. They are:
a scene between the real Jennifer Jenzen (Debi Mazar) a haughty, foul mouthed,arrogant movie producer and her assistant Sara (Ali Larter) on the set of B-MOVIE. Jennifer curses Sara out, and fires her on the spot. Sara however, intercepts Jennifer's mail, finding the invite for the party on Haunted Hill. In the DVD version they show to different takes of this scene (one set in the courtyard of an apartment complex and the other in a big open field).
a scene towards the climax when Eddie Baker (Taye Diggs) and Sara are running from the shadow demon exploding the floorboards, they are led into a dead end. Eddie jumps onto a hanging light fixture, holding onto Sara as the floor beneath them explodes. He loses his grip on Sara and she falls through the hole into a subterranean cavern beneath the house where the remains of Doctor Vannicut's victims lie. The shadow creeps into the cavern and reanimates the dead bodies causing this huge zombie attack. Eddie drops down and saves Sara and the chase continues from where it left off in the finished cut of the film (however, if you notice, in the finished cut of the film during the chase scene there is a continuity error when Sara's running. In one shot she's wearing her jacket and in the other it's mysteriously vanished, it's vanished because during the cut portion of this climactic chase, Sara loses her jacket when she falls into the cavern. Her jacket is then used by Eddie to pull her up and out to safety).
an epilogue was also cut from the film involving the real Jennifer Jenzen (Debbie Mazar) inheriting the house on haunted hill. When she goes to check it out with real estate agent Dick (played by Jeffrey Combs (who is also Dr. Vannicut!) we see her enter the house and then a horrifying scream follows. The scene was cut because director William Malone felt the scene was a bit too humorous for the film and that it did not fit what was filmed at all).
For once, a movie even scarier and more horrifying than the trailers for it. BUT......
The whole was not equal to the sum of its parts. Geoffrey Rush (what's HE doing in this movie?!) as Steven Price is actually a very interesting character, which can be attributed to either the effort the script takes to set him up, and/or the brilliance of the Oscar-winning actor in the role. Price's wife, Evelyn, gets similar treatment, but it is here the screenwriter(s?) get lazy.
The strangers in the house DO get a minimal amount of character set-up, i.e. who they are, what they do... but this information is never touched on again. One would HOPE that all ths information is being displayed for some higher purpose-- the background of these five strangers, the cat-and-mouse game played by Mr. & Mrs. Price, and Mr. Price's fascination with fear that is set up so intensely in the movie's opening minutes.
But alas, none of this GOES anywhere. It is all completely independent from the agenda of the House when I felt like it should all tie together, somehow. There are three forces at work here-- the ghosts who haunt the house, the humans who are trapped in it, and the Darkness that lives beneath it. These are all separate entities, we find, but for what purpose? This movie could have gone on another ten minutes, some loose ends could have been tied up, and I could have given it a much higher score.
Instead, what was truly an INTENSE build-up, sputters out at the very end of the movie. It didn't even feel like an end, it just felt like the movie stopped, and we're left without an explanation to what happens to the survivors-- including the most interesting character in the movie, the House itself.
7 out of 10. Fun to watch, truly terrifying, but incomplete.
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