OK, I once again admit that the foremost reason why I watched this movie was because it has Lacey Chabert in it. But other than that, how is this movie? Not bad...however not exactly good either!
Good news about the movie is that I wouldn't necessarily call it a formulaic one. It features a very basic premise and basically is nothing but yet another haunted house flick but yet it still manages to work out as an original and fresh enough little genre movie. This is mostly because of the approach of the movie. The movie isn't a dark and entirely serious one, which at the same time is I believe one of the reasons why most people don't like this movie. But does a horror movie always have to be a dark and serious one in order to work out successfully? Absolutely not in my opinion. This movie is more in the vein of a Sam Raimi type of horror production but by saying that I'm of course not saying that the movie is just as good or effective though.
Despite a good approach and an OK enough main premise, the movie still remains a pretty poor one in my opinion. This is mostly because of the story. For most part, it's actually hardly following much of a main plot line and it's also annoying how the movie doesn't even have one or two real main characters in it. It rather focuses on a whole bunch of different characters, each one at a time. So the one moment it's more of a Lacey Chabert movie, while the next it's all about the Billy Zane character and the moment after that it features a flashback and gets set in the past again. It's not necessarily messy or confusing to watch but it's annoying and it makes it hard to ever get into the characters or feel involved with the story.
It also constantly feels like the movie never quite gets off the ground. Every time it starts to develop one thing, it becomes a movie about something totally different again, soon after that. Maybe this movie was a case of 'having too many different ideas'. It's definitely trying to do a lot of different things and sometimes even all at once, which is never a good thing.
It's definitely hard to define this movie, which on the one hand is a good things, since it means that it's an unique and original one but on the other, it's also definitely true that this movie most likely would have been a far better one if it actually did focus more on getting one aspect right, instead of trying to be a million different things at once. Even the horror isn't as straightforward as you would expect it to be. The one moment its subtle, while the next it makes use of CGI effects and tries to be as 'loud' and flashy as possible. And the one moment it's a haunted house movie, the next more of a classic ghost story while the other it's more of a gory slasher instead. Just make up your mind about things already!
Not an entirely terrible genre movie and actually quite watchable at parts but overall I still can't really recommend this movie to anyone, mainly because of its unfocused and unbalanced story and approach to it.