A Supernatural Tale of Love and Mystery

Mystery Horror
108 min     6.074     1995     United Kingdom


Professor David Ash exposes false spiritulists and mediums. He is invited to Edbrook to resolve the fears and torments within its secretive family. Soon after arriving Ash begins to doubt his own senses, and watching the strange behaviour of its residents does not make his task any easier. In time, he finds there's more to Edbrook than even he can debunk.


John Chard wrote:
The Edbrook Haunting. Haunted is directed by Lewis Gilbert, who co-adapts the screenplay with Bob Kellett and Timothy Prager from the novel written by James Herbert. It stars Aidan Quinn, Kate Beckinsale, Anthony Andrews, Alex Lowe, John Gielgud and Anna Massey. Music is by Debbie Wiseman and cinematography by Tony Pierce-Roberts. Following the accidental death of his twin sister when they were just kids, David Ash (Quinn) has grown up to be a parapsychologist determined to debunk the existence of ghosts. Receiving an invitation from the Mariell family to investigate supernatural activity at their family home, Edbrook House, David accepts and quickly finds his life flipped upside down… It’s from the old fashioned school of horror, a period piece of some worth, but not one for anyone looking to be scared out of their wits. Actually the novel by the late great James Herbert was becalmed when judged by his superb standards, so it really will help any potential first time viewer to go into this expecting a more ethereal chiller than anything else. There’s an air of romanticism constantly hanging in the air, and with Gilbert nodding towards the likes of The Haunting for his scares and Don’t Look Now for the meditation on grief angle, it’s a film of mixed blessings. Also nice to see very good period design for the 1920s setting, while Roberts’ photography skilfully brings beauty to the English countryside and murkier tones for the inner workings of Edbrook House. Cast are fine, with Quinn and a perky Beckinsale creating good sensual chemistry, and Andrews and Lowe are suitably odd as the clearly off-kilter Mariell brothers. Massey, however, is not challenged by her role and Gilegud is only really filing in for an easy money cameo. It gets away from itself a little in the final stretch, where it’s not helped by some shoddy effects work, but there’s good value to be had in the picture. With grief, guilt, redemption and incest bubbling away thematically, and the spectral visage of David’s dead sister haunting the edges of the frame, film never lacks for literate effort or a sense of unease. The book is much better, mind. 7/10