This ghost story from the haunters' perspective (co-scripted by Michael McDowell) provides some of the most surprisingly enjoyable viewing in years. The drearily happy Maitlands (Baldwin and Davis) drive into the river, come up dead, and return to their beloved, quaint house as spooks intent on despatching the hideous New York yuppie family which had usurped their property. The humour unfolds as the horrible Deetzes (Jones and O'Hara) fill the house with revolting avant-garde art, bulldozers, and camp interior designers spitting venom; while only their mournful teenage daughter (Ryder) seems either aware of or in tune with the ghostly couple, whose failure to shine in the scare stakes finally drags them into the arms of the gunslinger-exorcist Betelgeuse (Keaton), a kind of OTT demonic Clint Eastwood of the underworld (who rids houses of unwanted humans). Off-the wall humour and some sensational sight gags make the movie, maddeningly disjointed though it sometimes is, a truly astonishing piece of work.
Cast and crew