The Spiral Staircase (TV Movie 2000) Poster

(2000 TV Movie)

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Dynasty meets serial killer and begets a turkey
nickjg30 March 2004
Another re-make disaster from a worn out industry. It is the social distance and the hermetically sealed emotional barriers between the characters which are the mainspring of the 1940s version. Sets, characterization and nuanced performance combine with eerie music and special effects to make the original movie work. In this version, there is some spooky music but the camera dwells on deep cleavages and luxury goods, suntans and landscape gardens. The performances are mediocre and the only 'electricity' produced is from a generator which mysteriously fails during a storm. The creaking woodwork gives a more convincing performance than the leads who all seem to speak their lines by numbers: "do you (2-3) want to (2-3) speak again..." There is an attempt to make a Freudian analysis of the situation which also appears to come from some sort of 'Freud for Dummies' manual. The original and the seventies re-make are both available on DVD- why not spend the time you might have wasted on this turkey going out to find a copy instead!
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DrSatan16 September 2002
Why remake "The Spiral Staircase", which is no classic but a good little thriller for TV? Why change around the story in ways which only hurt the production? I'm refering to the move of the events of the story to an island, the subtraction of one pivotal character and the addition of a second, the move of time period from the Victorian era to the modern day (as the original was a period piece you could have just left it there). Having Helen arrive during the story, rather than having her be a well established and beloved member of the household really hurts the story. Taking out her love interest, the doctor, from the original story also muddles up things considerably. Adding on the ridiculous "secret passage through the house" only hurts the film, as does changing the killer's motive from psychosis to money. The original film also had a much better cast, all around. Finally, why is it that so many writers feel that to update a movie, you need to make all of the characters more vulgar and unlikable? Sure, we might swear a bit more now, but I wouldn't say that the porportion of jerks is quite as high as it is in this film.

My advice to anyone contemplating seeing this film is to skip it and seek out the original. You'll get a better acted, directed, lit, scored, and written film.
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Average at best
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews27 June 2004
I didn't really care for this mystery-thriller at all... it barely has anything that gives the viewer a good reason to watch it. The ending scene has a little intensity, but it is badly filmed, as is the rest of the film, so the small amount of intensity there is, is lost in bad cuts and lousy camera work. Apart from the ending, the only feasible reason to see it is the mystery and the humor. The film does have a decent amount of humor, but humor can only make up for so much bad acting, boring plot, and dull film. The mystery is OK, it did have me guessing until the very end, but it just seems like a lazy attempt at making a "family" slasher film, by having someone die on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the family part shines through far more than the slasher does, so all of the kills, and I do mean *all* of them, are off-screen and barely detailed at all, to keep it safe for the kids, too. What in the world were they thinking? Why would kids watch this, why would the family sit down and watch this? There are plenty of other, better family oriented films out there, why ruin what little potential this one had as an teenage/adult film. Had this been R-rated, it would have been much more interesting. I know that this is a remake, and that there are two films made earlier with virtually the same plot as this, so, if you're reading this, and you can't figure out which one of the three to choose, take my advice: take the second movie, from '75, or, better yet, take the original, from '46. I haven't seen either but I can almost guarantee that they are better than this. I can't really imagine them being much worse, actually. I recommend this only to huge fans of mystery-thrillers, as it is definitely *not* among the best in the genre. At best, it's average, but maybe that's enough for big fans. 5/10
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If only earthquakes were as predictable...
apoorvak25 February 2001
This is easily the most boring and predictable movie I have ever seen. The plot is extremely thin and the direction does little to put any feeling of fear or suspense into the mind of the viewer. The acting also is mediocre. All in all, a waste of time, money and effort.
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not a good remake of the 1946 classic, lacks style
robertedward10 August 2003
I agree with DrSatan that this update of the 1946 classic is not well done. Above all, it lacks style and ambience. Beyond that, the plot is seriously weakened by the omission of the doctor's character; the new twist at the end (with its trite motivation sans the Freudian psychological flair of the original); and the hokey camera angles which make the house appear to be listing in a stormy sea. The childish secret passageways and cobweb-covered staircase are out-of-place in a film which otherwise tries too hard to be adult.

Even the pale 1970's remake with gorgeous Jacqueline Bisset is better than this truly missable, misguided project.
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good agatha christie type mystery
triple814 November 2003
this is worth a television viewing especially if you like whodoneit type movies. Very agatha christieish, I liked the mood of the flick-that whole agatha/clue type atmosphere-I didn't even know it was a remake till I saw that on this website.I guess if the original was THAT good I can understand why many people who saw both versions might not like this but sicne I only saw this version I can say the suspence level was there and I enjoyed watching it. I'd give this a 7.5 of 10.
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Perhaps predictable but a visual stunner!
Leichecat30 December 2001
Give the cast credit where credit is due! Judd Nelson and Nicolette Sheridan spew more electricity than a power station underfoot Godzilla. The scenery and haunting background music make an eerie ambiance which certainly adds to the film's chill factor. I absolutely adored this adaptation. One must admit, it's brimming with humor, though perhaps not intentionally, but for pete's sake, it was made for television! Give it a chance!! It may not quite give you goosebumps but definitely a warm chuckle and fuzzy feeling!!
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A well done TV movie, as well as a well done remake! The performances are great!
pain932 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The Spiral Staircase is a made for TV remake of a 1945 of the same title, based on a novel titled 'Some Must Watch' by Ethel Lina White starring Ethel Barrymore, Dorothy McGuire and George Brent (For more about The Spiral Staircase, See here... The Spiral Staircase has been remade for 3 times. A 1961 Theatre 62 Episode starring Elizabeth Montgomery, A 1975 remake a starring Jacqueline Bisset and Christopher Plummer, and finally this.

While it is no where near the level of the original, it is the best remake of the three. Honestly, this film is really good. Nicolette Sheridan is a stunning beauty and gives a really good performance of HELEN a mute woman who takes a nursing position for a wealthy old widow(Holland Taylor) living on a secluded island with her family of two sons (Judd Nelson, Alex McArthur) Her sons latest bimbo girlfriend (Debbe Dunning) and servants (Christina Jastrzembska,Dolores Drake, and David Storch) But a killer is targeting young woman around town nearby and on one dark and stormy night, while the group is stuck on the island, the killer is slowly knocking of his victims...

I will say the performances here are good. Judd Nelson delivers well, and as I mentioned Nicolette Sheridan is amazing. The film has good humor, and nice eye candy. The cinematography is good, delivering some shots of lush landscapes, creepy secret passageways and stunning bodies. Although, this film isn't scary, it is entertaining, and it is fun to guess the killers identity. The music is very well done.

So give it a look (If you can find it, this has NEVER been OFFICIALY released on DVD, but I happened to find a copy of it) a fun, entertaining way to pass the time! 8/10
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More twists and turns than the roads in Monte Carlo
bmorisky-118 August 2001
Nicolette Sherdian is breathtakingly gorgeous in this taut thriller based on the classic film. This movie has more twists and turns than the roads in Monte Carlo. The constant state of tension is at times almost unbearable. Judd nelson gives the performance of his career, surpassing even his work in St. Elmo's Fire. I anxiously anticipate this superb work of art's release on DVD, hopefully a collector's edition.
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