On Halloween, a group of friends encounter an “extreme” haunted house that promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realization that some nightmares are real.
Some Monsters Are Real
Release Year: 2019 | Runtime: 1hr 32min | Genre: Horror | Source: Amazon Streaming | Country: USA | Unstarred Review
Haunt Review (Violet)
There are a whole lotta tropes going on in this one. In fact, I was so certain I had seen this film a few times over until it hit the twist. However, I did have one issue…
Harper is a young woman in a domestic abuse situation with her boyfriend. Her roommates decide to take her out for Halloween. They meet up with two young men during the night and decide to hit up a haunted house. It’s in the middle of nowhere (of course). The “actors” are creepy (so you know there is an ugly clown). But is this haunted house more than Halloween fun (it always is)? The group begins the tour all giggles until they begin dropping like flies (I know you’ve seen it). Who survives and who dies?
The main character is Harper. She is a girl not close to her family and it is intimated she is a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her boyfriend. I have no problem with this because physical and mental abuse is a very real and serious issue that should be raised to young women. My problem is that if you plan on including a sensitive topic, it should be more than window dressing. There is also a scene of her witnessing her mother being abused by her father. That is not always the case with victims. Domestic violence should be given full care and I don’t feel the film dug into the issue properly or resolve it. It felt like the writers wanted to make a haunted house film a little different, so they gave the main character this back story that does not gel well with the rest of the story. Perhaps if the boyfriend was in the haunted house as well and had to fight for his life. How does the dynamic between them change in that situation?
With that said, it doesn’t make the film bad. I really enjoyed the second half because the reveal of the who is running this haunted house is rather original. The haunted house itself is extremely creepy and well thought out which keeps the tension high despite everyone being exceptionally beautiful and young and that is the extent of their pretty flat characters. Like the treatment of the relationship Harper has with her boyfriend, there was a potential to really make this a scary, original and meaty haunted house film, but the writers got scared and fell back on the usual teen scream version. I will give this film an extra point for at least giving us a good ending. 3 out of 5 stars.
Haunt Review (Brian)
It’s easy to go into a movie like Haunt with some preconceived notions. A post-Saw slasher film that takes place in an extreme haunted house runs the risk of being simply an exercise in elaborate traps knocking people off one at a time, racing to an And Then There Were None ending. Something unexpected happens partway through, Haunt begins to punch above its weight.
What I liked most about the characters is that they possess a certain amount of pragmatism and logic in their actions. They aren’t wilting lilies that crumple at the first sign of danger. Nor are they led through the story by the dictates of the plot. They find themselves in a bad situation and try to think through ways to get out of it. The ways that they come up with aren’t out of left field and make a certain amount of sense. The presence of these characteristics has a subtle effect on the viewer, and we become more invested in their successful outcome.
The protagonist, Harper, comes from an abusive home and is currently trying to break the abusive relationship cycle that she fell into. I once knew a girl who grew up in a an abusive home who was tough. I used to say that she learned to fight the hard way, by getting beat up all the time growing up. I mention all of this for a reason. Part of the story of Haunt is Harper’s journey to self-determination and she turns out to be tougher and more formidable than the antagonists of the story were betting on.
One thing that I found interesting about this entry into the Slasher sub-genre is that each side (the protagonist and her friends and the masked haunted house killers) sustains the same amount of losses. Ultimately, the protagonist and her friends give as good as they get. This is partly a function of having a group of killers instead of a single killer, but it’s a nice little tweak to the sub-genre.
Haunt is a slick slasher flick that sneaks up on you.
Brian Lindenmuth is a longtime fan of books and movies. His tastes span many genres. Twitter @brianlindenmuth
V. Castro is a Mexican American writer living in London. She is the author of Maria The Wanted and the Legacy of The Keepers and the forthcoming erotic novella, The Erotic Modern Life of Malinalli The Vampire. When not caring for her children she is writing, exploring London and watching way too much telly. www.vvcastro.com