F. Murray Abraham, Embeth Davidtz, Tony Shalhoub, Matthew Lillard
Widescreen; closed caption; English, French audio tracks; Spanish, French, English subtitles; commentary by production designer Sean Hargreaves and creator of makeup effects Howard Berger; "Ghost Files," 12 vignettes profiling the ghosts; music montage.
|Pithy one-word reviews notwithstanding ("Boo! " and "Ack!" come to mind), here's some of the most inventive art direction ever scared up for the big screen. All of the money must have gone to the sets and special effects, though, and not the script of this remake/update of the 1960 William Castle-directed horror film. It's about an eccentric rich guy who leaves his elaborate, deadly home, complete with spooky phantoms-in-residence, to his hapless relatives. The original was notable for requiring that audience members have cardboard ghost-viewing glasses to see spirits cavorting on the screen. For the new version, any cardboard is reserved for the characters. The haunted house, high-tech and baroque, is visually impressive. It's graced by dependable actors, including Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham ("Amadeus"), Embeth Davidtz ("Schindler's List"), Tony Shalhoub ("Big Night") and the hyper Matthew Lillard ("SLC Punk"). But dumb, schlocky exploitation is dumb, schlocky exploitation.|