The Haunting

Synopsis: A remake of the classic 1963 movie "The Haunting" about a team of paranormal experts who look into strange occurrences in an ill-fated house. Through the course of the night some will unravel, some will question, and all will fight for their lives as the house fights back.
Director(s): Jan de Bont
Production: DreamWorks SKG
  3 wins & 14 nominations.
 
IMDB:
4.9
Rotten Tomatoes:
16%
PG-13
Year:
1999
113 min
696 Views


FADE IN:

EXT. HOUSING PROJECT, CHARLESTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS - DAY

ON a housing project in the industrial outskirts of Boston. The

BANGING seems to flutter away, leading us along, searching... to a

tiny balcony, one of dozens, ten stories up. And there, the source

of the sound --

-- A SHEET, snapping in the wind. The umbrella-like clothes line

on which it hangs bangs against a dirty glass door as if trying to

get in.

THROUGH THE GLASS DOOR a woman paces inside, agitated. The VOICES

rise over the banging, becoming intelligible --

INT. LIVING ROOM, NELL'S APARTMENT - DAY

-- becoming a fight. JANE, 30s, dark-haired, furious, wheels

across a diminutive, neat, but poor living room.

JANE:

It'll take a month to probate the

will, Nell! A month! Even if

Mother left you something, you

won't get it in time to pay the

rent. So instead of complaining,

you should be thanking Lou for

getting you these two weeks to get

Mother's things packed.

At first we can't even see who she's yelling at. At first we don't

even notice her. Then we do...

Holding herself, in a dim corner away from the light, small, plain,

like a part of the faded room is ELEANOR VANCE, 20's -- Nell.

She stares at the door. The clothes line raps at the begrimed

glass.

JANE (cont'd)

Nell?

The wind dies, the banging stops. Nell seems to hear Jane and

peers over at her, then across the room to Jane's bored husband,

LOU. He's turning a Franklin Mint commemorative coin set in his

hands, studying it.

LOU:

You're still going to have to

settle with your mother's landlord

on the back rent.

Nell watches Jane's little boy, RICHIE. Unpacified by the

cartoons on the TV, he plows a plastic tank across a shelf through

neat rows of delicate PORCELAIN DOLLS.

NELL:

I'm not going to stay. I'll get a

job. I'll get my own apartment.

Richie knocks a porcelain DOLL off, and it breaks all over the

carpet. His parents don't notice. But Nell feels it in the soul.

Richie stops. A long beat. He looks at her, insolent, then plows

on with his tank.

JANE:

Nell. A job? Two months and

where is this job? You have no

degree, you've never worked --

Nell explodes in outraged fury, startling us.

NELL:

-- I've never worked? --

JANE:

You have no experience in the

world... the regular world. What

would you put on a resume?

(beat, softening)

Now we all appreciate what you did

for Mother. Isn't that right,

Lou?

LOU:

Eleven years. Long time.

JANE:

That's why we've been talking.

With me getting more time in

Accessories, and Lou at the shop

all day, we need somebody to take

care of Richie, do a little

cleaning and cooking. And in

return you can have the extra

room.

She goes to Lou, puts a hand on his shoulder, proud of her

generosity. All Nell can do is stare.

And then:
KNOCK KNOCK. Like a shot Nell is out of the chair and

turning for a set of FRENCH DOORS across the room. It's all

reflex. Nell catches herself.

KNOCK KNOCK. Richie, lying on the couch like he's sick, raps on

the wall with a wooden CANE and squeals:

RICHIE:

Eleanor, help me! I've got to

pee!

Nell REACTS, but rather than being amused or annoyed, a wave of

TRAUMA flickers over her face. The reaction is so strong we

instantly know something is very wrong.

LOU:

Richie, knock it off before I beat

the crap out of you!

Nell turns away, sick, breathing hard.

Jane picks up a JEWELRY BOX from a dresser.

JANE:

You're sure this is all of

Mother's jewelry? The lawyer said

to make sure we took it to him...

(beat)

He said there might be some

antique pieces. Have you seen

anything? Some of it might be

valuable.

Nell knows what is going to happen to that jewelry. Jane no longer

can bear the weight of Nell's stare, checks her watch. She nods at

Lou. Lou rises, pocketing the coin set. Richie follows him out.

JANE (cont'd)

Think about our offer, Nell. You

don't know how hard it is out

there.

INT. NELL'S KITCHEN - DAY

Nell rams through the door into the small kitchen, spotless, empty.

And then bursts into tears. Shaking, she digs in her back pocket

and pulls out a FINE FILIGREE NECKLACE. Her mother's. It's from

an age gone by.

Clutching the necklace, she goes back out the door.

INT. LIVING ROOM, NELL'S APARTMENT - DAY

Nell crosses the living room straight for the closed French doors,

the glass obscured by gauze curtains. She throws them open and

enters --

INT. SICK ROOM - DAY (CONTINUOUS)

-- what once was a dining room. Transformed into a sick room.

Drawn shades. Dim. The first traces of dust.

Nell lingers in the doorway a beat, daunted.

A perfectly made bed. The PILLOW, however retains the IMPRESSION

of a head. Lodged between the bed and a nightstand, a CANE. On

the opposite side of the bed is a plastic toilet. I.V. stand.

Shrouded white shapes.

On the wall above the bed, a framed needlepoint counsels: A PLACE

FOR EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE. A bit of wisdom. A way

to live a life.

A way Nell has lived for too long. Seeing it galvanizes her into

movement. She goes to an old armoire, a medicine chest, opens it,

removes a BOTTLE OF TYLENOL WITH CODEINE and marches out.

INT. LIVING ROOM, NELL'S APARTMENT - DAY

Nell closes the doors on the chamber of horrors, exhales. She has

been holding her breath.

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David Self

David Christopher Self (born January 8, 1970) is an American screenwriter best known as the author of the screenplays for the films The Haunting, Road to Perdition, and The Wolfman. more…

All David Self scripts | David Self Scripts

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    "The Haunting" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 14 Jul 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/the_haunting_536>.

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