Despite some lavish settings and great cinematography, “House on Haunted Hill” is a quite dull horror movie full of cheese and fake scares, but one which is neither fun like the teen slasher films nor scary like horror movies of old. This review will be short because basically there’s nothing much to write.
In fact the film itself is little more than a concept which feels like it was made up as it went along. The opening sequence actually starts off quite intriguingly with not only a tense elevator ride but a rollercoaster scene which you’ll probably remember each time you go on a real one in the future (if only they were built like that).
It’s also great to see James Marsters (Spike on Tv’s “Buffy”) making a cameo as the cameraman and Lisa Loeb as the reporter. Of the main characters it’s Geoffrey Rush who easily steals the show, hamming it up as the Vincent Price kind of eccentric millionaire and fitting the role perfectly. Its a shame really though that his character becomes all too serious in the second half.
Famke Janssen and SNL alumni Chris Katttan also fare well as his bitter wife and the nervous asylum manager respectively, the rest though are completely forgettable. The gore in this is extreme, probably the most onscreen since “Event Horizon” – lots of blood and cutting which is far more gross than actually scary.
Nevertheless combined with the lighting it does help create a dark atmosphere in scenes to make up for the lack of writing. Still in the end one can see why there was little promotion for this, its the more darker & edgier version of “The Haunting” and while that film was god awful, this one’s just plain bad.