Movie Summary of "Haunted"

by Alexis Rohlin

The atmospheric, psychological thriller movie "Haunted" was released in 1995 with an R rating and starred Aidan Quinn and Kate Beckinsale. The melancholic British chiller takes place in 1928 in England, where a cynical parapsychologist has been hired to investigate the haunting of the Mariell estate. During his investigations, he learns about the dark history of the family and finds himself fighting for his sanity -- and his life -- when he learns firsthand that the ghosts are real.

The Beginning

Professor David Ash, played by Aidan Quinn, has spent his life busting the myths of the existence of ghosts. He receives an invitation from Mrs. Mariell's children, Robert, Christina and Simon, to come to the Mariell family's home, Edbrook House, to investigate a haunting. The children want David to prove their house isn't haunted as a means to help their elderly caretaker, Nanny Tess, who slowly has been losing her mind after their mother's death and is convinced Mrs. Mariell's ghost comes every night to haunt Edbrook House.

Visions of the Dead

David starts seeing things and feels a presence in the house, but he firmly believes the haunting actually is a hoax perpetrated by the youngest Mariell sibling, Simon. However, his denial of the supernatural and the afterlife is slowly put to the test as he as begins to see his dead twin sister, Juliet, running around the halls and grounds of Edbrook House. Juliet drowned in a lake when he was a child and years later he still blames himself for her death. Shaken to the core by grief and survivor's guilt, David believes he is hallucinating and begins to question his own sanity.

Romance

Despite the fact her brothers are completely against her being with him, Christina cannot deny her attraction to David and ignores their protests, eventually sleeping with him one night. The next morning, he wakes up to a huge gust of wind blowing through the house. Edbrook House now is cloaked in black drapes and littered with fallen leaves. Confused, he searches for Christina and runs into his twin sister's ghost. He follows Juliet to a cemetery, where she points out a tombstone with the names of Robert, Christina and Simon Mariell written on it and the date and cause of their deaths -- they died five years ago, in 1923 in a fire at Edbrook House.

Revelations

Unable to believe what he is seeing, David returns to Edbrook House and finds Nanny Tess. He questions her about what is going on and she reveals that Christina, Robert and Simon died in a fire five years ago and that it was started by their own mother. Brothers Robert and Simon had an incestuous relationship with their sister, Christina. Their mother caught the three of them together in bed having sex, and the shame and outrage she felt drove her to murder them in a fire, then kill herself.

The End

The vengeful ghosts of the Mariell siblings will do anything to prevent David and Nanny Tess from leaving and revealing the truth to the world. The ghosts use their supernatural powers to set Edbrook House on fire and kill Nanny Tess. Just when it seems that David is going to burn to death, Juliet's ghost appears and pulls him out of the fire. She tells him she forgives him for her death before ascending to heaven. David returns home with the firsthand knowledge that ghosts are real, and that his sister forgives him for letting her drown. Unfortunately, the ghost of Christina found a way to leave Edbrook House and will continue to haunt him for years to come.