The Haunted (1991)

Produced & Directed by: Robert Mandel

Written by: Darrah Cloud
Robert Curran, Jack Smurl, Janet Smurl, Ed Warren & Lorraine Warren (Novel)


Sally Kirkland .... Janet Smurl
Jeffrey DeMunn .... Jack Smurl
Louise Latham .... Mary
George Wallace .... John
Allison Barron .... Katie
Krista Murphy .... Colleen
Ashley Bank .... Shawn
Michelle Collins .... Erin
Joyce Van Patten .... Cora Miller
Stephen Markle .... Ed Warren
Diane Baker .... Lorraine Warren
Cassie Yates .... Dorie

Release Date: Made-for-TV: May 6, 1991




The Smurl family moves into a home that's cheap in an area of California in which they fix it up but realise things are missing at first and then found in strange places. Suddenly the family woman Janet (Sally Kirkland) is hearing strange sounds as she thinks she's going crazy but then everyone else experiences unusual encounters out of the ordinary in which they realise that their home is haunted and trying to tear the family apart.


A cheesy but yet interesting beginning with kids trick or treating as well as the story unravelling about the certain house on that block with Janet as a child screaming and running away. It wasn't effective but looked fun to watch as it had that b-movie vibe to it but of course this is a TV movie so it's not comparable to the big screen movies.
Nice moments on the Smurl family moving into their own home as things looked uplifting with neighbors greeting them with brownies and the conversations which really made the moments truly likeable living in a friendly neighborhood. Yet good brief moments on kids and some other residents giving them a strange look by moving into the home which leaves a nice clue that moving into that home is a bad idea. Also some nice shots on the family looking around as the walls and other stuff looked grubby which seemed an impressive beginning for the hauntings later on in the story.

Also a scene happens when the family renovates to make the house look nicer as there's moments like the husband Jack using his hammer and then can't find it in which this is a sign of a haunting but this looked a little too obvious and not grabbing your attention as it was supposed to have been.
Yet there's a spooky scene I found was an improvement when Janet is down in the basement doing her laundry and thinking that she hears her mother calling for her as well as a light flickering with whispering noises as this blends in greatly for a supernatural flick.
Also a nice realistic moment when she goes to the next side of the home to check on her Mom with them disgusted with her thinking that she was cussing next door with her husband which the conversations on this looked good and natural as well as having a good believeable tension during this situation.
Good camera takes on a cheesy special effects shot on something ghostly flowing into a window of a bedroom doing something spooky which is a pleaser but nothing too spooky if you aren't scared of small stuff.
Well focused situations on Janet bowling with some of her neighborhood friends and being distracted which comes across clear that she's bothered about something as this looked believeable on the situations that takes place here.

Nice natural moments with Katie and her boyfriend watching TV with the rest of her sisters before going out and these younger siblings teasing her as this was nicely put together.
Later on during this scene after Katie goes out with her boyfriend there's a scene that works to be genuinely spooky as Janet hears bathwater and asks her other kids about it but tries to tell her to maybe wait till the family man gets home with is another spine chilling moment thinking that this is a bad idea to go to the bathroom to check this out on her own as there's nice dark shots on her slowly going to the hallways and then cautiously entering the bathroom about to open the shower curtain to see on what the sounds are all about which keeps you watching carefully on what's behind the shower curtain causing this.
Perfect intense moments when it looks like that Janet is trying to start a fight when Jack comes home later than expected which looked energetically negative and threatening to leave him and then breaking down and crying explaining on what's going on in the house as this was perfectly written into the story.
A well drawn in moment is when Janet is doing some ironing as well as putting away laundry that there's some dark figure swarming around and then going through a wall which is a well memorable moment too for anyone who watched this flick. Shows a nice evil ghostly feel.
Good conversations between both Janet and her mother Mary discussing on what they saw as well as feeling relieved that neither of them are going crazy which looked good and natural.
More nicely drawn in moments when both Janet and Jack are sleeping in their bed as well as Janet herself hearing sounds from her pillow and trying to get her husband to hear it to prove she's not hearing things as well as something massaging her foot and getting him to see what she means as well as their reactions to it all which looked good and hyped. This scene I will also remember clearly when I first watched it.
Nicely drawn in moment when a preacher comes to bless the house with the kids questioning as to why along with a nicely drawn in moment on the priest not feeling well after and in a hurry to leave which is an effective moment to a horror story indeed.
Great strong moment when the youngest child is drawing a picture and good focused camera shots on a kitchen lantern jiggling as you get a creepy feeling on what is going to happen and boy do things seem intense and powerful with what happens later on. This moment is hard to shake off.
A nice camera shot zooming towards Jack while he's watching TV as well as an arm of a lustful looking woman and then a great forceful moment on this woman throwing him to the ground and getting on top of him with good psyched out shots on her looking different in a creepy way and flashing back to herself. Plus good camera shots looking down on him trying to get her off of him. This was my favourite part of the film and done in good horror taste making the moments look truly mysterious as to who this spirit was.
I enjoyed another part of the story when one of the paranormal investigators spot a spirit of tow women standing in a hallway which was done in fine haunting taste.
Nicely drawn in moments with the investigators Ed and Lorraine discussing what spirits are residing in the home and explaining each of them which was impressive to hear what they're talking about unravelling the mysterious moments as well as explaining as well on these ghosts trying to split the family apart which was nicely written in and making you wonder as to how much the family can take later on to these situations. Leaves a good psychological feel on whether or not if the spirits will be chased away and the difficulties too.
Perfect intense moments with things moving around in the home and going haywire in the middle of the night with the kids freaking out on what is going on with the parents coming in to solcve the problem as well as well remembered situations on them throwing holy water and saying "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to be gone" as I will never forget them saying this leaving a good feeling on them trying to control these evil spirits. Also great emotional moments with the kids asking what's going on and finally the parents eplaining that their home is haunted which was a great touch to the story.
Terrific moments when the family tries to go away camping and the neighbors see intense moments at their home thinking that some maniac is in t heir home as well as good shots on the house with lighting in the windows which looked impressive.
Perfectly drawn in moments with a priest and the family concentrating on what to do to perform an exorcism with good camera shots on all of this.
Well focused moment when Janet is about to go downstairs to do her laundry and the door slams behind her which looked pretty tensed up and watching carefully wondering if these evil spirits are still in the home or not.
Another great strong moment is when Mary is vacuuming and spots the dark figure approaching towards her and she is cornered begging for mercy as you wonder if she will be okay or not.
Nice shot on Janet floating above her bed and then thrown around the room with her struggling with this evil force which looked intense and well done.
Impressive light humoress moments when their house is publicised and some kids driving by teasing the residents about ghosts. Also good moments on everyone mobbing their home trying to get information out of them as well as John bringing out a shotgun trying to ward them off which looked good and strong to watch.
Then there's a perfect ending when the family moves away and into the new home and then Janet realises the terror isn't over which is bone chilling and a perfect ending indeed.
Bottom line is that this is a fact based film but makes me wonder if it really was true as I'm sure some of the writing in it was fabricated but most fact based shows are. Plus it is almost a cheesy resemblance to the Amityville Horror. It can be fun to watch but there are slow spots in the story and it needed to be shortened a bit at times.

The acting is well performed in which Sally Kirkland (Janet Smurl) lived to play the family woman as she has a nice =warm attitude as well as acting perfectly mellow. She really stuided this part inside out. Plus does well acting concerned or frusterated too. Also shows a great intense manner here and there thinking that she's losing her mind which was impressive to watch as she looked believeably dysfunctional. Plus does great with her crying and pleading too here and there. Made you think she was really acting like that naturally. Does a nice job with her friendly attitude and acting full of life in other spots too.
Jeffrey DeMunn
(Jack Smurl) strutted his stuff nicely as the understanding family man showing a nice seriousness to his role but a warm and caring parents too. He does well trying to act understanding to his onscreen wife in which he drew this in wonderfully. Also reacts well to the hauntings and getting jumpy. Plus shows a great frusterated aggressions when they are happening around him. Yet when he struggles against being attacked by an onscreen demon seemed to need a bit of improvement but he wasn't terrible by any means.
Louise Latham (Mary) seemed to offer a good elderly type of manner as someone whom is strict but yet warm hearted. Shows a nice disappointing behavior towards her onscreen daughter scolding her which looked believeable. Also offered a nice frightened attitude after what she spotted not believing on what happened. Plus does well acting weak and begging not to be hurt when an evil force corners her which she offered nice characteristics into this too.
George Wallace (John) also stood out quite well with his calm type of behavior as well as revealing some surprised and disapoointed reactions during certain situations. Also shows off a good aggressive attitude while using a shotgun in the front of his home not taking anymore on what is going on outside of his property as he brought a great drive to this.
Allison Barron (Katie) stood out the most as one of the kids portraying a nice typical teenage attidue as she does well getting defensive with the teasing in some spots. Also does a great job with her freaked out attitude after spotting the hauntings that goes on in the home making her energy very convincing.
Michelle Collins (Erin) did a nice job as the youngest one in the family portraying a nice innocent type of attitude as well as concentrating well singing a christian song while drawing a picture which she knew on how to act cute and charming while behaving like this. Plus does well with her crying and scared emotions in other scene's making this come to life in a convincing way.
Joyce Van Patten
(Cora Miller) was terrific as the next door neighbor showing off a good charming and caring behavior trying to be a good person in which she showed alot of great enthusiasm into what she did here. Also does well with her crying and scared emotions when she spots on what happened at the house in the night. She made everything that she did here very believeable.

Alot of clarinet plays throughout alot of the scene's which sounded wonderfully peaceful as well as some piano playing. Plus there's the odd strong suspenseful music for the hauntings as well as the odd chanting sounds. Some of it sounds slightly cheesy in a Zgrade way but again this was made for a TV movie. Most of this worked in well. This was put together by Richard Bellis

Jack Smurl: You better pray for me tonight hon'. Cause that is the only thing that is gonna keep me from killing somebody.

Janet Smurl: In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to be gone!!!!