Director: Jan de Bont
Cast: Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson
Release Date: October 20, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Widely regarded as one of the finest, and most terrifying ghost stories ever written, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House serves up sinister source material in this an edge-of-your-seat thriller, available for the first time on Blu-ray. For over a century, the foreboding Hill House mansion has sat abandoned… or so it seemed. Intrigued by its past, Dr. Marrow lures three subjects to the site for an experiment. But, from the moment of their arrival, as night descends, the study goes horrifyingly away, and Hill House unleashes its supernatural wrath on the unsuspecting subjects. Newly remastered from a 4K film transfer, supervised by director Jan de Bont (SPEED), the blockbuster adaptation features Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, Liam Neeson, Lili Taylor and Owen Wilson.
Please Note: Paramount Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
You can also check out our Blu-ray reviews for the other releases in the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line by clicking on each title below!
Based upon the famous ghost story ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ by Shirley Jackson, the 1999 film ‘The Haunting’ accompanies a group of strangers who agree to temporarily relocate to a gorgeous, yet strange and legendary mansion for the promise of a sleep therapy study. But upon arriving at their new home away from home, they slowly begin to discover that the house is far more than a meticulously crafted mansion, with various dark secrets and shady events polluting its past. Soon, one woman realizes she may have some kind of personal connection to the building and its previous residents that make her a target for both the peaceful and deadly entities that still dwell within, leading to a terrifying chain of events that none of them are likely to forget, assuming they can make it out alive.
The 1999 film ‘The Haunting’ makes its debut on Blu-ray for the first time as the tenth installment in the ongoing ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray lineup, celebrating various classics from the studio’s expansive vault in a new line of numbered Blu-ray releases that each feature new 4K film transfers, along with collectible packaging and extras. The film makes a nice addition to the ‘Paramount Presents’ series as well as being perfectly timed for the Halloween season which should doubly thrill the fans who are fond of this feature film adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s famous ghost story (also more recently adapted into the Netflix series ‘The Haunting of Hill House’). While it may not be one of the best horror films of the 90’s or its surrounding decades, it nonetheless does have a lot more to offer than the majority of PG-13 scare entries that were flooding the market around that time. Wisely opting to take the material seriously and benefiting from the capable guidance of director Jan de Bont (Speed, Twister) in addition to a noteworthy cast that includes Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson and Lili Taylor, along with more, ‘The Haunting’ ends up becoming a well-crafted, occasionally somewhat eerie and altogether enjoyable haunted house outing with some impressive effects to nicely round it all out.
Overall, the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of director Jan de Bont’s 1999 film ‘The Haunting’ conjures the film onto Blu-ray for the first time sporting a gorgeous high definition video presentation from a new 4K film transfer supervised by director Jan de Bont himself, paired with a hard hitting Dolby TrueHD multichannel soundtrack that together brings the film home looking and sounding better than ever before. It’s another downright magnificent transfer from Paramount Home Entertainment that easily holds up with many of their other recent ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray releases which only continue to impress thanks to the carefully mastered new presentations. Fans of ‘The Haunting’ who have been hoping to see this one arrive on Blu-ray at some point should definitely be downright thrilled with the flawless presentation it offers. The release is highly recommended for anyone considering a purchase.
The ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘The Haunting’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation of the film with its original 2.35:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio, from a new 4K film transfer supervised by director Jan de Bont. This newly remastered video presentation looks outstanding and delivers a clean, sharp and beautifully detailed presentation that captures the minute details and depths of the expansive house within better than ever before, never suffering from any noticeable faults or issues whatsoever along its course. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit sequences of which there are quite a few within, never for a moment allowing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Paramount that should absolutely thrill the fans.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack serves up a crisp, clean and frequently hard hitting audio presentation throughout. It consistently takes advantage of all five available channels in order to provide calm dialogue and mild eerie noises one minute and aggressively loud scare effects including shaking furniture and morphing areas of the house booming throughout the various speakers the next, all while making sure that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously remain clean and fully audible every step of the way. Overall, this is a great 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack that never falters or disappoints, while also repeatedly contributing some additional fun and scares to the viewing experience.
The ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘The Haunting’ features the usual collectible artwork for the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line which includes a slipcase that opens up to feature a larger version of the original theatrical poster, along with more photos on the inside slip of the interior Blu-ray case (see the included beauty shot from the studio included at the bottom of the review for a look inside). The disc itself also features a few nice extras including the new Featurette ‘Filmmaker Focus: Director Jan de Bont on The Haunting’ (running approximately 9 minutes in length). Also included are an archival ‘Behind-The-Scenes Featurette’ (running approximately 27 minutes) and the film’s ‘Teaser Trailer’ (approximately 1 minute) and ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (2 minutes).