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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Haunted (1995)

"I'm not here to change any of your precious beliefs. But what I am here to say is that, when you investigate psychic phenomena, you must adopt and objective and scientific position."
- David Ash (Aidan Quinn)

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: September 27, 2001

Stars: Aidan Quinn, Kate Beckensdale, Anthony Andrews
Other Stars: Sir John Gielgud, Anna Massey, Alex Lowe
Director: Lewis Gilbert

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: R for (Sexuality and nudity)
Run Time: 01h:46m:10s
Release Date: October 02, 2001
UPC: 707729114840
Genre: horror

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+CB- D

DVD Review

There's nothing quite like a good, old-fashioned, ghost story. While horror comes in many forms, certainly the quiet, subtle feel of a spirit moving through a large, ancestral home is sometimes more effective than a knife-wielding psycho. Such is the case with Haunted, a moody, stylish picture from famed director Lewis Gilbert, perhaps best known for directing three James Bond films. Based on a fairly well known novel, written by James Herbert, Haunted is a Gothic thriller in the tradition of works like The Turn Of The Screw.

The story begins in 1905, when a young boy, David Ash, loses his twin sister in an unfortunate drowning accident. The experience disturbs and follows him, but when the film flashes-forward to 1928, we find David (Aidan Quinn) established as a successful psychology professor in England. He's become a self-proclaimed authority on psychic phenomena and written a book completely debunking so-called paranormalists and channelers. Because of his stance on the supernatural, an elderly woman, Nancy Tess (Anna Massey) pleads with him to visit her estate, where she claims a mysterious spirit is holding her prisoner. Christina Mariell (Kate Beckensdale) is a member of the family that Nancy Tess oversees, and she decides to mediate the affair in the hopes of bringing peace to Tess' mind. David decides to accept the offer and intends to disprove the presence of any ghosts.

Naturally, David Ash's resolve eventually weakens when even he begins doubting his own theories about spirits. He also gets involved in a romance with Christian, which clouds his objectivity. Is there a ghostly presence in the mansion, or is it just David projecting his own fears and doubts? Filled with atmosphere and tension, Haunted tries to answer that question in the most entertaining way possible, and it succeeds to a large extent. Lewis Gilbert does a marvellous job bringing both creepiness and appropriate warmth to the story, added to by some great cinematography. Opulent locales are used, because what would a haunted house story be without a great house?

The cast deserves some mention here, certainly, as they all fill their roles extremely well. Aidan Quinn makes a very good skeptic, but also someone who hides a bit of supernatural belief under the surface. Kate Beckensdale, who recently came into some fame from her role in Pearl Harbor, performs admirably in her part, one that took significantly more effort and talent than that other film did. An appearance by Sir John Gielgud adds even more class to the proceedings, and all supporting roles are very memorable. While Haunted isn't terribly scary, it is at least effective at telling a story of intangible dread lurking around every corner. It isn't dark or depressing, though, just foreboding and hard to grasp. For those who like their horror films intellectual rather than gory, Haunted is an excellent pick.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The full-frame transfer (supposedly the original aspect ratio) is extremely noisy and grainy, with constant movement in even static scenes. Darker scenes become murky and get lost in all the haze and artifacts, so shadow details are compromised. There are good colors and the atmosphere is still well captured, but the weak video is going to disappoint just about anyone expecting a very sharp, digital-standard transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: C


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Mainly focused in the front speakers, the Dolby 2.0 Surround audio is pleasing, but nothing special. Dialogue is center channel focused, and most sound effects fill all three front channels with nice effect. The surrounds are sparsely used for effects, but the musical score is charged up into a whole soundfield.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English (captions) with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are literally no features on the disc other than a chapter selection menu and captions (only activated if you have close captioning enabled).

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

Definitely a rental disc, Haunted is a solid supernatural tale for those who like that kind of genre. It also makes a good Halloween disc, how fitting it should see an October release.


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