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 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

None

Violence

Typical horror movie thrills

Sex

Mild, including reference to bi-sexuality

Language

Mild

Consumerism
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
Parent Written byRoberto Z. August 1, 2018

My daughter loved it!

Not too scary with nice special effects and dark atmosphere!
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
Kid, 11 years old July 1, 2014

cheesy

Well the movie was not that scary. And that was a great disappointment to me. Also the affects where cheesy.
Teen, 14 years old Written bymetallica September 2, 2012

the first half was good...

... but then it starts to make no sense...ok, so there wasnt really anything bad as far as sex goes, but there is violence and cursing (b----) SPOILER a person... 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

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate