31 Days of Horror: Paranormal Activity / The Haunting

Paranormal Activity opens today in Regina and Saskatoon. This low budget haunted house story has been generating buzz for a while on the internet and has been slowly climbing up the box office chart for a few weeks now. It crushed the lame remake of The Stepfather and now it's up against the latest Saw film.

It's another pseudo-documentary like The Blair Witch Project that relies on suggestion rather than actually showing anything. I haven't seen it yet but it looks and sounds interesting and from the trailer - it looks like a fun film to see in a theatre full of people. The Galaxy is playing midnight showings on Friday and Saturday for those brave enough.

Which brings me to today's film - The Haunting (1963). This brilliant horror film is one of the best haunted house movies ever made. Directed by Robert Wise this adaptation of Shirley Jackson's novel The Haunting of Hill House is creepy, eerie and just plain unsettling at times.

Wise goes for the less is more philosophy - using sound and shadows to create chills rather than relying on special effects. The story takes place in Hill House, a house with a dark and disturbing past. Richard Johnson is Dr. John Markway. Markway wants to explore the house and try to solve its mysteries. To do this he assembles a team of people with a history of the paranormal. One of those people is Eleanor 'Nell' Lance (Julie Harris) who is drawn to the house.

The movie is extremely effective. There was a remake in 1999 that was all CGI effects and no bite. It was terrible and it just about ended director Jan De Bont's short career. The last film he directed was in 2003 - the equally crappy Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. Filmmakers seem to forget that the best way to scare people is to build tension, establish mood and let the audiences imagination do the rest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I liked it and I think that I won't will sleep for a week! hahaha, it's really scared me and my wife!
Watch it online here: