Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “Haunt”
By: Brian Cotnoir
Wow, do I have a great film to talk about today. It’s amazing how some films that don’t get a theatrical release can gain a huge following after it is released on DVD. Well I’m here to tell you why I think that “Haunt” is going to be one of those surprise sleeper films that is I think is sure to gain notoriety and popularity on the straight-to-video/DVD circuit.
Now from the outside “Haunt” looks like a basic Haunted House Horror movie. Early on in the film you can tell that they drew inspirations from other more successful films like “Insidious”, “The Others”, “Oculus”, “Psycho”, “The Conjuring”, and “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”. It’s the story about a family named the Asher’s who move into the old Morello House, where it is rumored that some sinister spirits took the lives of the previous owners three children. The Asher’s eldest son, Evan, ends up befriending the girl-next-door, Sam, and the two of them really hit it off. I’m not kidding, he just finds her crying in the woods one night, he says some comforting words to her, and then the next thing he knows she’s broken into the house and has decided to spend the night in his bed...Is this how the films screenwriter thinks teen romance happens? Because it’s more creepy than it is cute. And the only thing creepier than that is how cool his parents are that there teenage son just had some strange mysterious girl spend the night with him in his bed! I know, I were ever caught in that situation my parents would’ve chewed me out and grounded me forever, but they’re like “Meh, whatever, it’s cool. Welcome to our family”. One night Sam and Evan find an old mysterious box that she claimed Mr. Morello once used to try to communicate with his dead children. To them it seemed like a fun little idea, but will them using the box/machine upset or awaken angry spirits.
|I can't tell if we're supposed to think this is|
charming or very unsettling.
So yeah, it’s a pretty unoriginal Haunted House story idea that has been done time and time again, but yet there were still a couple of things I really enjoyed about it. I really enjoyed the two main characters Evan and Sam. Even though their characters are written as stereotypical teenagers the still had some personality brought to them by the wonderful acting of Harrison Gilbertson and Liana Liberato. Gilbertson somehow brings a little bit of personality to the stereotypical “Good looking nice guy, who just wants to be loved by the emotionally damaged girl”. Again, not an originally written character, but Gilbertson still gave a decent performance. Liana Liberato, in the role of Sam, was great in this film. I’ve seen her in a few small television and in the film “Trust”, and let me just say I think she is a great actress: though I must say, I find it a little strange that she plays a rape/abuse victim in a lot of her works (I had no idea you could get type-casted into that kind of role). I really hope to see Liana Liberato in more mainstream film roles in the future, because she really is a talented actress.
|Something, sinister comes this way!|
Now the other part I liked in this film was the CGI effects. This film once it reaches its climax is filled with creepy and frightening images. For a film that has an unoriginal story the images in “Haunt” made me jump time after time again. I know there was at least one time while I was watching this on my laptop—in the dark—that I exclaimed in terror “What the hell is that?!”. It’s not an easy thing to do, I think I can count the number of times I’ve been actually truly frightened by a Horror film on one-hand, that’s how rare of an occurrence it is. If you see “Haunt” for just one reason and one reason alone, I would say you should check it out just to see the freaky and terrifying CG creations. I may be a little bit bias towards this film, because it took a lot of elements from some of my favorite Horror Films, but that is my opinion and I am standing by it.