(Review originally written at 25 July 2005)

This movie is mainly lacking one essential part for an horror movie; scary moments. This movie never becomes close of being scary, mainly because the movie relies too much on its special effects rather than the story.

Yes, the story really is the weakest part of the movie. I mean let's face it people, this movie is basically about nothing! The story doesn't seem to go anywhere as the movie progresses and in the ending the movie becomes more and more ridicules and implausible. The movie is truly lacking in scary moments also because the timing is just plain bad. Not once did this movie become scary or even tense.

Still you have to give the movie credit for a few things. The actors are really superb. But why on Earth is the main character played by Lili Taylor, when you have a cast with Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson and even Bruce Dern? Lili Taylor is the least known actress of the cast but yet she plays the main part. Yes, I know she was kind of 'hot' in the '90's but noway near as 'hot' as Zeta-Jones at the time, who had just done "The Mask of Zorro" or Liam Neeson who just before this had done "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" and "Rob Roy", "Michael Collins" and "Schindler's List" a few years before. Bruce Dern and also Virginia Madsen are terribly underused in this movie, I wouldn't describe their roles as anything more than just a cameo appearance.

Also something that this movie deserves credit for is the look of it. Director Jan de Bont had always been inspired by Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining", also back in his days as director of cinematography. This is really notable especially in this movie. There is nothing wrong with the fine cinematography by Karl Walter Lindenlaub, who used to be the director of cinematography of many Roland Emmerich movies and Caleb Deschanel who later dropped out due to creative differences. That's mildly put, Jan de Bont basically is a pain to work with for cinematographers because de Bont used to be a cinematographer himself for years. Cinematographer Don Burgess already also had left the set after 'differences' with de Bont during the filming of "Twister".

The editing however is bad, I can't believe that it was Michael Kahn who worked on this movie!

Persons who will be fairly entertained by this movie are the fans of special effects. There are some nicely made effects, which however are not scary and suitable for an horror movie of this type.

It's not a completely unwatchable movie but still a weak and un-scary movie that most certainly is not recommendable. Not even to the fans of the genre.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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