Tiny Lili Taylor gets to play avenging angel with an assortment of ghosties and ghoulies in this silly would-be frightener based on the novel by Shirley Jackson and originally filmed in 1963. Dr. Marrow (Neeson) enlists three subjects to stay at Hill House for a study in insomnia that's (unknown to them) actually a study in fear response. There's brash Theo (Zeta-Jones), dopey Luke (Wilson), and fragile Nell (Taylor), who turns out to have unexpected ties to the haunted mansion. Big-budget doesn't make for big frights, just big, mocking laughter from the audience--certainly not what director De Bont must have intended. Dern appears briefly as the scruffy caretaker, with Seldes his Mrs. Danvers-like wife.
DreamWorks SKG, 1000 Flower St., Glendale, CA 91201, Phone: (818)695-5000, Fax: (818)695-7775, URL: http://www.dreamworks.com
Available on VHS, DVD
Running time 114 minutes.
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