The Haunting

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Haunting Movie Poster Image
High-tech remake is dumb and overblown.
  • PG-13
  • 1999
  • 113 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages



Typical horror movie thrills


Mild, including reference to bi-sexuality



Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has some scary, intense scenes, but no gore. There's some social drinking.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTiffani G. May 12, 2018

Good special effects, does talk about sex

The ratings say there is no sex whatsoever, and, although there is no actual sex, one if the characters says sex and talks about her girl and boyfriends in a ve... Continue reading
Parent Written byRoberto Z. August 1, 2018

My daughter loved it!

Not too scary with nice special effects and dark atmosphere!
Teen, 15 years old Written byCameronAnderson April 20, 2019
I don’t say this much but this movie sucks! Way too much CGI and bad acting. Nothing much to be worried about. Some scary moments that look pretty fake and some... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 9, 2017

this movie is not scary.

this is not a very scary "horror" movie. in truth it has more blood and gore than it does suspense. I can't believe some people find it "sca... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE HAUNTING, Liam Neeson plays a doctor who (contrary to any sense of scientific ethics) invites three people to a spooky mansion for what he tells them is insomnia therapy. In reality, it is a part of his study of fear. The three subjects are Luke, a surfer type (Owen Wilson), Theo, a bi-sexual artist who enjoys being provocative but is basically good-hearted (Catherine Zeta-Jones), and Nell (Lily Taylor), a quiet woman who has spent years taking care of an invalid mother. The house is indeed amazingly creepy, accurately described by Theo as the house from Citizen Kane crossed with the house from The Munsters, with gossamer curtain and gothic carvings.

Is it any good?

This high-tech remake of the creepy classic is dumb and overblown, but some teenagers will have a good time with it, especially if they watch it together. Its only possible merit is that it is too silly to be scary. There are some good special effects and a couple of "boo!"-style surprises. But the plot and dialogue so interfere with the mood the movie is trying to create that they become the best possible protection against anyone -- even a 12 year old -- taking it this movie seriously.

Kids who are genuinely interested in scary movies should watch the original version, directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Harris and Claire Bloom, to see how subtle story-telling can be much more unsettling.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the serious themes raised by the movie, including the ethics of scientific experimentation, the role of fear in evolution, child labor, and the paranormal, but perhaps of more interest and value is a discussion of why people like to be scared in a controlled environment like a movie, and what is and is not really scary.

Movie details

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