The sun still shines brightly in these last days of summer, but moviegoers are showing a pronounced taste for things that go bump in the night. As I write this, no less than three of the week’s 10 most popular films are ghost stories of one sort or another, each with its own spin on this time-worn genre.
The Haunting epitomizes the flawed big-studio Hollywood approach: throw lots of money at the screen, come up with all sorts of special effects on your computer, and hope the audience will be scared. But the effects actually undermine the suspense. The scariest movies are those which play on the audience’s own imaginations. Don’t show, and don’t tell—rather, suggest.