The original House on Haunted Hill, starring Vincent Price, sucked. It wasn't scary, it had bad acting, and there were no ghosts. Luckily, The House on Haunted Hill of 1999 doesn't retain much of the original. The basic plot is there - a rich guy offers several persons a large sum of money to stay in a "haunted" house," all the while plotting to kill his wife, and she the same towards him - but this one actually has ghosts!
The atmosphere is very creepy and the ghosts are very nasty looking. Through most of the movie, the characters are wandering through the basement and running in to strange phenomenon. There are some really freaky parts and some really nasty parts (the remake is much more disgusting than the original).
Of course, The House on Haunted Hill has to be compared to the other haunted house movie of the year, the dismal The Haunting. The Haunting relied on special effects and awe-bending ghost visuals while The House on Haunted Hill is based around creating a creepy atmosphere. The house in The Haunting is much more intricate, but in this film, it takes place in a retired insane asylum. The ghost doesn't look as great as in The Haunting, but it is still pretty cool looking.
The "F" word is a little overused in the film, but other than that, the script is pretty good. Acting is decent and the gore factor is there.
The House on Haunted Hill blows away The Haunting (There's no Lili Taylor running around saying, "Got to save the children!") and its original version.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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