Warning wall of text ahead:
This review will be based on the game only as I haven't read the short story the game is based of.
It kind of makes me sad that I have to give this game a negative review. But there are some things in this game that just didn't cut it for me, seeing how hyped this game has been over the years, always being mentioned in "best point and click/adventure games of all time" threads all over the internet, I don't really see why. Sure the story is very unique (and the short story is probably 10 times better) but I really couldn't feel that dark and twisted feeling that most people did.
Ok on to the parts that made me give this game a thumbs down. Oh and like many others who have played this game, I live and breathe point and click/adventure games. I grew up during the 80's with the big 3 on the NES (Deja Vu, Shadowgate, Uninvited) and I played my fair share of the Sierra/Lucas arts games during the years. So no "trolling" here. This review will probably get down rated anyway :)
The first big turnoff in the game is "trial and error" part, don't get me wrong I love a hard adventure game (took me months to beat Myst without a walkthrough). But this game forces you to either pick up a walkthrough (which I dislike) or save your game every time you interact with something. Why? Because if you screw up even the slightest you can't complete the game. And the worst part is that the game doesn't even tell you that you screwed up. So either spam that save/load button or stick to your walkthrough as soon as you pick it up, because you will need it more than once if you don't want to go mad. In the end I think I were suffering more than the characters in the game due to this mechanic.
The second thing that really killed it for me was the overall atmosphere over the characters. I saw some other comments like this under the reviews and it feels good that I'm not the only one noticing this. But these characters (without spoiling too much) have been tortured for over 100 years, and they just seem so... full of spirit.. At least some of them, some characters even joke around when your play them (Ellen). This is why I didn't feel the "horror" and darkness in the game. I really didn't feel like these characters were suffering or anything. You might think that these people were walking disasters after 100 years of mental and physical torture, but nope! I didn't care for any of the characters, I just wanted to skip to the next one all the time and sadly it never got better, only worse. And the ending was a HUGE meh, giving me a feeling like I have been doing everything for nothing (yes I got the best endings).
One other small problem I had with the game is the amount of bugs, stuff disappearing and multiplying (you pick up a key only for it to reappear when you reenter the room). Doors you can walk through sometimes and sometimes not because you have to "use" the door. But hey it's an old game, I can let that one slide.
TL;DR There are plenty of other horror adventure games out there with a more twisted and darker story (yes I said it) than this one. So save your money or buy a game like The Cat Lady instead and watch a complete walkthrough of this game on youtube.