Everyone has been talking about the new film Haunter starring Little Miss Sunshine herself Abigail Breslin. I was finally able to sit down grab the remote and turn on this atmospheric horror on my Direct TV provider. The trailer and clips did nothing to persuade my opinion on seeing this film, I knew I would eventually come around to it. While Haunter looks great and provides a very haunting use of imagery but the film overall is very short on scares.
Haunter is about a young girl who has just “awoken” to realize she is dead. Not only is she dead but she is living in her house as a spirit that has not moved on. From the minute the film starts there is a constant negotiation of scares through the first 40 minutes that would lead you to believe the house is haunted. Really what we have is something similar to the film The Others where things are being done by the actual alive tenants of the house. How the film truly differs from the aforementioned is the concept of Breslin trying to help the young lady from reaching the same fate as hers. The story, acting, cinematography and setting work perfect for Haunter but what falls short are the scares. Vincenzo Natali (Cube/Splice) is a pure stud in horror and he does an impeccable job of bringing you into the spirit world of our deceased star including the girls who have all died before. I’m sure many won't be pleased with so much back and forth between the two realms but in my opinion this was one of the smartest things about Haunter.
Think of films like Silent House and Crawl and you will get a sense of the tension and eeriness that builds throughout Haunter. The end result though seems to fall miserably short. I kept expected scares but what I witnessed almost seem juvenile. I believe I have seen a few episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark that had a better scare factor than Haunter. Haunter is currently not rated but I'm sure by the time this gets an american release it should show a PG-13 rating. If you have any daughters in their teens that like horror plan on this future purchase of movie tickets and Blu-ray. Although with the film being available on iTunes they can see Haunter right now if they want.
Haunter isn’t terrible by any means and has tons of things any horror fan will like. Just don’t expect too much in regards to scares after the discovery is made that Breslin’s character Lisa is dead. The stand out in the film in my opinion is the little brother Robbie played by Peter DaCunha. Haunter is a great film to watch with the family this holiday season if you are not into the blood or guts, but if you are looking for scare you may want to pass on this one.
Haunter is Canadian supernatural thriller film, directed and written by Vincenzo Natali, starring Abigail Breslin. It was produced by Copperheart Entertainment and written by Brian King. It is being distributed currently by IFC Midnight and can be found on most VOD outlets. It is NR with a running time of 97 mins.