Remembering Jan De Bont’s THE HAUNTING

Liam Neeson, Owen Wilson, Catherine Zeta Jones and Lili Taylor top-lined Jan De Bont’s expensive clunker The Haunting in 1999. The film is an adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel The Haunting of Hill House and and updated version of Robert Wise’s acclaimed 1963 film version. 

Loaded with CGI, the $80 million budgeted film was released in the US during the summer of 1999 – I caught it in on 6 October of that year and I haven’t seen it since. Critically mauled, De Bont’s film grossed over $91 million at the US box office and more than $177 million globally. 

The film was going to be called The Haunting of Hill House, but the title reverted to The Haunting because of the William Malone directed The House On Haunted Hill (an adaptation of the 1959 Vincent Price movie) was released the same year. That Robert Zemeckis/Joel Silver production cost $37 million and banked $42 million globally. I preferred Malone’s film, but again I haven’t seen it since February 2000. 

De Bont (a former cinematographer) next helmed Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life in 2003, but he hasn’t directed a film since