This remake of William Castle’s 1958 “The House on Haunted Hill” is not bad for a Halloween scare but it’s far from being great.
Geoffrey Rush stars as Steven Price, a horror theme park designer who organizes a party inside an abandoned insane asylum which was the site of horrifying medical experiments back in the thirties. The spooky event, planned for his hated wife Evelyn’s (Famke Janssen) birthday, is chock full of surprises from the ones he springs on the handful of strangers who show up by invitation to the building itself which seems to have a life of its own.
All the guests have to do is survive the night, then each will receive one million dollars. Everyone’s game except for Pritchard, (Chris Kattan) who rented the building to Price; he knows all the tales and truths about the place and he warns them almost from the minute they set foot in the building that all will not end well.
I got the feeling this picture was popped together just in time for Halloween. The sparse promotions kind of confirm that. It’s generic spooky stuff, with an optimistic opening that descends into the usual – the house is alive stuff – that we’ve seen hundreds of times before. The effects are just okay and the surprises on the characters and audience are really quite predictable; but if you’re looking for Halloween fun, why not visit “House on Haunted Hill” because there are worse movies out there and they come in the form of the franchise horror movies like “Scream”, etc.
Lotta says nothing new here but maybe a cute way to start off your Halloween haunts.