Haunt (2019)

 

haunt

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A group of friends expecting a haunted house experience find themselves in something more sinister in this film produced by the great Eli Roth.

On Halloween night, Harper has finally dumped her abusive boyfriend Sam and her roommate Bailey convinces her to come out with her to a party. Meeting up with friends Angela and Mallory, Bailey runs into friends Nathan and Evan, the latter who is not excited about his costume. After mistakenly thinking Nathan called for her, Harper finally introduces herself and finds herself getting along with Nathan right away. When the six learn of a new extreme haunted house that has been built in the woods, they decide to give it a go.

When the group arrives, they are forced to sign a contract that will waive all responsibility from the creator of the house. The idea of the house is to feed on the group’s darkest fears. At first, things turn out tame. However, as they delve deeper into the house, the creator holds true to his word and feeds on their fears, but things begin to take a more terrifying turn as the group slowly finds themselves being really picked off one by one. Will the survivors be able to escape this house of horrors or will it be too late?

The great horror auteur Eli Roth joined forces with the writers of the hit horror film A Quiet Place to unleash this house of horrors with six potential victims. This is a well-made film that makes the viewer go in one direction, with a thought that might make sense. However, it soon veers into the unpredictable and the film progresses into many tense moments and eventually, death from the likes of the house’s cast, who are only known in the cast for their characters without revealing their identities, another excellent idea for this film.

What helps the film is the ensemble cast with Katie Stevens leading the cast in the role of Harper, a young woman who is the most flawed of the group. Her introductory scene shows her covering up a black eye dealt to her by her abusive boyfriend. Stevens does quite well in the role of Harper, who tries to overcome her fear of dealing with her now ex-boyfriend with Lauryn Alisa McClain’s Bailey being a source of hope for her friend. Stevens and McClain gel quite well for the first act of the film while she later gelling with Nathan, played by Will Brittain, who doesn’t have much have the feel of a romantic love interest, but as someone who meets Harper and just enjoys getting to know her.

Andrew Caldwell’s Evan is quite the outspoken member of the group as his intro involves him at the party going ballistic over something very simple and it seems at first like the characters of Angela and Mallory seem like filler characters, but as the film progresses, these two characters, played respectively by Shazi Raja and Schuyler Helford, do become pivotal characters. This comes notably in the second act, which is set in the depths of the extreme haunted house.

And it is the haunted house where the film revs up from 0 to 100 in a matter of minutes. The entire second act is the reason to see the film as the tension builds up in a well-paced manner. Scott Beck and Bryan Woods did an excellent job with their screenwriting and direction as the cast finds themselves slowly delving in the madness of the house. The house’s “cast of characters” are only known for their costumes such as the Clown, the Ghost, the Witch, the Vampire, the Devil, and the Zombie. This group are the ones who start out acting their roles only to become the true terrifying forces, with certain ones doing more damage and killing the group who are forced to basically “sign away their lives” to the terrors of the house when they must sign contracts before entering the house in the first place. There are some twists and turns, notably involving a major supporting character who is up to no good, and one can only wish something happen to this particular character.

Haunt is a well-made mapped out thriller that slowly builds the tension and then gives you some shock value and grisly deaths, spearheaded by a great ensemble cast.

WFG RATING: A-

Momentum Pictures presents a Beck Woods production in association with Broken Road Productions, Nickel City Pictures, and Sierra/Affinity. Directors: Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. Producers: Eli Roth, Mark Fasano, Todd Garner, Ankur Rungta, and Vishal Rungta. Writers: Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. Cinematography: Ryan Samul. Editing: Terel Gibson.

Cast: Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, Lauryn Alisa McClain, Andrew Caldwell, Shazi Raja, Schuyler Helford, Phillip Johnson Richardson, Samuel Hunt, Chaney Morrow, Justin Marxen, Terri Partyka, Justin Rose, Damian Maffei, Schuyler White.

The film will be released in select theaters, On Demand, and Digital on September 13.

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