THE HAUNTING (1999) is plagued by a saccharine heroine, meandering narrative, and an over-abundance of cartoonish 90s CGI. I love Intellectually Superior Liam Neeson and I ADORE Bisexual Flirt Catherine Zeta-Jones but in terms of actual scares this film fails to deliver.
It certainly doesn’t live up to the critically acclaimed Shirley Jackson novel it’s based on. I haven’t yet watched the eponymous 1963 film, but Martin Scorsese really loved it apparently . I’m gonna go ahead and assume that the 1999 THE HAUNTING is worse than that, too.
This movie isn’t just un-scary, it’s also got shitty gender politics. On principle alone I can’t get behind a sweet shut-in who’s willing to die to protect already-dead ghost children. It’s basically the supernatural version of what women are expected to do for our families under patriarchy. The film casts protagonist Eleanor’s self-sacrifice as noble instead of meaningless. It’s not even sad, and it makes no sense. All I can say is: Fuck That.
PLUS, the CGI breaks cardinal rule #5 and I do not forgive.
HOWEVER: a Very Bad Horror Movie can be a disappointment or it can be an opportunity to make arbitrary rules about when to drink alcohol. I choose intoxication!
Here is my THE HAUNTING Drinking Game:
- When any part of the house, including statuary, moves in CGI: drink
- When Eleanor says “The Children!” drink
- When the one good non-CGI death scene happens: finish your drink
- When something happens that is supposed to be scary but you laugh instead: have some water. You need it
- When someone dies for biologically unclear reasons: finish your drink
Go forth and imbibe!
If you use my drinking game to watch THE HAUNTING, let me know how it goes! Did you get inappropriately inebriated? Did you wish for more chances to sip your tipple?
If you have suggestions to improve the game, drop them in the comments!