A gentle scare!
The Haunting is the remake of a 1963 psychological thriller by the same name. The once pale sexual subtexts are now fully assumed and explicit. It’s a film based on characters and dialog and not so much on the monsters. In terms of eye-candy, it goes much further than its predecessor, though it is highly reminiscent of the classic and brings back the original supernatural procedural fiber.
It is the set designs and the performers that give it its charm. Some of the 3-D effects will probably rub you the wrong way, though. More practical effects might have done the trick and kept it scary instead of awkwardly shiny. Although the story is a fun one to sit through, it mostly centers on an unstable and sometimes annoying, unnatural character.
With its elegant Gothic backdrop, its high-caliber performers and its occasional wit, The Haunting is all polish, all melodrama, no terror and aimed at a general audience. It’s indeed not high on kills nor gore, and the scares are minimal. It plays a little like a sinister poem, at times, and like a vague modern whodunit in between the more graphic moments.