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(Review originally written at 4 April 2009)

This movie is so very effective and just overall excellent due to its minimalism. Little is explained, little is ever shown and the story also isn't the most complex written one. Out of all the horror movies I've seen I can honestly say that this is one of the genuinely scary ones. It still is the best 'haunted house' movie ever made.

It's a movie that puts its emphasis more on its atmosphere than anything else really. The movie knows to create an uneasy atmosphere with its slow but steady build up. It really knows to pick its moments to put in a scary moment. But even then the movie shows very little. It's a movie filled with scary sounds, which adds to the mystery and tension of the movie.

It's really a movie that works out due to its talents behind the camera's. I was surprised by the movie its camera-handling and fast editing work at times. They did a really great job with this and it really helped the movie to work out with its moments. It's a technically really well made movie, that of course also is being helped by the fact that it was shot in black & white. It gives the movie a more eerie and unpleasant atmosphere. It also really helps to bring the house to life, from both the outside as well as the inside.

Horror wasn't really the most glamorous genre to work in during the '60's but just like Robert Wise did with "The Day the Earth Stood Still" he takes a genre to a totally different and far classier level, when compared to other genre movies from the same time period. This is what I always mostly admire about Robert Wise. He takes on a genre with his own touch and vision, with as a result an unique, as well as highly effective movie.

The movie has some really effective genre moments, that will shock and will leave you with an unpleasant feeling afterward, without ever having to feature any blood or gore or anything of that sort. One moment especially really caught me off guard and in my book is one of the most scary shock moments in movie history. It's more of a slow and subtle version, that might not be for everyone but for those who are able to sit through a more of a slow and old fashioned genre movie, the movie will be a real rewarding one.

9/10

About Frank Veenstra

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