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overblown remake of the 1963 robert wise film of the same name ( based on shirley jackson's novel " the haunting of hill house " ) stars lili taylor as one of three " lab rats " that participate in a supposed " insomnia " study being initiated by liam neeson .
he is actually conducting a study on the causes of fear and why the human mind is still affected by it .
he drags the test subjects out to a foreboding mansion where all types of " creepy " cgi effects scare the cast and try the audience's patience .
i know this question has been posed before , but why do people keep remaking good movies ?
the original was a great psychological horror film .
this new version is dull and very decidedly not scary .
in fact , i feel it is downright impossible to make a modern day pg-13 horror movie that is scary .
unless you find obvious computer generated special effects frightening , then there's nothing in this film that will raise hackles .
i nearly fell asleep twice during the film , and probably would have if they guy two rows behind me didn't seem to have such a personal relationship with the characters that he felt he needed to discuss every decision they made with them as the film progressed .
it's sad to see such an amazing cast wasted so badly .
owen wilson spends most of the film wandering the halls of the house , and the script does no justice to his wonderful comic ability .
catherine zeta-jones ( always nice to look at ) is given the woefully underwritten role of a bi-sexual insomniac that gets to run out of her bedroom perplexed every time some strange noise occurs .
liam neeson pops in from time to time to talk into his tape recorder and attempt to convince the others that he has as much knowledge about what's going on as the rest of them do .
finally , poor lili taylor , the center of the film , gets the brunt of the cgi effects thrown at her while everyone else gets to scream and try to rescue her .
apparently , a subplot involving a tryst between zeta-jones and taylor's characters was filmed but removed .
that's too bad , because it might have lent some better characterization to the narrative .
this is jan de bont's second straight misfire ( speed 2 : cruise control being the first ) .
when is he going to learn that bigger is not always necessarily better ?
robert wise knew that when he made the original and the makes of the blair witch project also knew that .
one should not approach a haunted house movie with a twister mindset .
if de bont and screenwriter david self had let our minds fill in the blanks as to what was happening instead of showing us everything , it would have served to make the film terrifying .
what our mind fashions on it's own can be a thousand times more frightening than having having it completely led towards everything .
apparently , yet another version of this story is being filmed under it's original title .
i certainly hope that this newer rendition will not be hurt by the insanity of jan de bont's version and that it will retain the psychological impact that the original release had .
[pg-13]