With Halloween being tomorrow, I wanted to post one more holiday-oriented film review for now. Today’s pick is “Haunt”, which was written and directed by the pair responsible for writing “A Quiet Place", and produced by Eli Roth.
The film has a very simple formula - a group of friends in search for an extreme haunted house find one off the beaten path late at night. Once they sign the waivers and surrender their phones however, they begin to understand that this might be one experience they have to fight to escape from.
All around, I really liked this movie. Anything that takes place and uses haunted houses (or theme parks) as their set pieces always gets an immediate thumbs up from me. But this one manages to fit in some mythology and ideas that help elevate it to a level past your regular slasher-in-a-haunted-house formula.
The story is best served cold with little expectations, so I’ll avoid any real breakdown of the story and the events within. What I would like to compliment on however is a few things: the story writing, the characters, and the events. The writing is fantastic, finding a proper balance between cheesy set ups and natural sounding dialogue. The characters are well played and help carry this idea of authenticity all the way to the conclusion. Each one has a set of things they are scared of and things they are good at, and its fun to watch them flex and then squirm all in the next minute. But even the ones you know you aren't supposed to really care for serve as fodder to make you simultaneously want to dismiss them and save them at the same time. It's an interesting place to exist, but it is done well here.
This film has some jump-scares sprinkled in, but there’s a lot of subtle imagery that is able to upset you and make you wonder what could possibly be going on. My favorite point was the halfway mark when the film reveals itself to be something much more nefarious than the usual formula of a serial killer disguised within an attraction. This one has a bigger personality and bigger aspirations, and I applaud for the way the reveals are laid out. in my eyes, it was very effective (albeit a little cheesy).
It’s a fun film that’s perfect for holiday viewing. It’s not spectacular by any means, but I enjoyed it. And it is currently streaming on Shudder.
'Til Next Time, Mike Cleopatra