Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan


(UK/USA, 1995)

This movie is a little bit better than your usual ghost story. What it mostly lacks is scares. As The Haunting and a few others have proven, you don’t have to have a lot of ghouls and gore and ectoplasm to have a scary ghost story, in fact you don’t really have to see the spooks at all to get a good fright. But this one stays a bit too tame. Aiden Quinn is a professor in 1928 who specializes in debunking paranormal claims. He’s invited to a huge old family rockpile in the country. The housekeeper is losing her mind because the house is haunted. What he finds there are three rich, sybaritic siblings: Anthony Andrews, Alex Lowe, and Kate Beckinsale. She is gorgeous, naturally (and I would have thought an unlikely choice for that Underworld series of four movies that were critically panned but made good money), Andrews is coldly sophisticated, Lowe is a practical joker who likes to run around shouting boo. These grown-up kids are free spirits, and as things start to get weird and Aiden starts to fall for Kate there is a hint of incest with her older brother. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything to reveal that there’s a twist ending that will remind you of The Sixth Sense, but isn’t nearly as good. Sir John Gielgud has a small role, and the last of the players is Anna Massey … and doesn’t she look familiar? About halfway through I hit on it: She was the girl in the potato sack in Hitchcock’s Frenzy. And I was right. She looks much older, hadn’t aged all that well. And Lee discovered that she was the daughter of Raymond Massey. She died only last year, in 2011.