Soon after moving into the house the wife begins hearing strange, loud noises, the young daughter is haunted by bad dreams, and a presence seems to make itself known. Specters and spirits abound. Early in the film there are too many questions, too many mysteries. Why, for example, does the daughter appear only in scenes with the mother, and not the father? Why is the baby always left alone in his crib? Those questions, added to the already confusing storyline, baffle the audience, while most of the dubbing is laughably inept, thereby providing viewers with a schizoid cinema experience.
What seemed brilliant cinematography in the insane asylum (helped by the decaying building itself) becomes nicely moody and atmospheric in scenes shot in and around the family’s new home, and ho-hum everywhere else. The actors, required to look morose throughout most of the film, succeed, but the quality of acting is unfathomable because of the terrible dubbing.
Interesting special effects and a general creepiness do little to offset The Haunting’s flaws. As it progresses, elements are introduced that have no meaning, actions are taken that make no sense, and conclusions are reached based on conjecture. It’s a pity that wonderful imagery and interesting ideas are wasted or undermined by awful dubbing. Would this film, in fact, have been better undubbed? It couldn’t have been worse.
The Haunting will be released under the Fangoria Frightfest Banner, in conjunction with Lightning Media, on September 28. No special features have been announced for inclusion in the DVD.
Bottom Line: Would I buy/rent/stream The Haunting? Only if I could see the original Spanish film with English subtitles.