Haunt scares up some tricky traps without too much blood and gore.
Haunt is a perfect watch for the Halloween season. It’s a scary slasher, that takes place in an extreme haunted house attraction, which has some gruesome traps in store. Unlike most slashers with college students, the characters act rational and don’t do the stupid thing, but at least try to escape in the best possible way. Of course they are overpowered by a bunch of psychopaths, who hide behind masks. That makes it a realistic slasher with more gruesome ideas than real explicit or graphic horror and gore although some scenes can be cringeworthy.
Harper and her roommate Bailey go out to celebrate Halloween with two other friends Mallory and Angela. While Harper is struggling with a trauma from her youth and is dealing with an alcoholic and abusive boyfriend, they meet up with two guys Nathan and Evan and decide to go to do something fun. They end up at an extreme haunted house attraction which seems a perfect way to have a fun Halloween. But once inside, they find out what extreme means and things are starting to get a little too real.
Why you should watch it
There are a couple of things this movie has going for. The characters make rational decisions and take logical action. They keep thinking, not acting irrational or downright stupid, but they keep their heads in the game. And a game it will be. A game of cat and mouse in a really horrifying way. The haunted house experience is originally made, but not all too scary. But it leaves room for the really scary parts, the so-called actors hiding behind scary masks. It seems to our group of friends all too real, but enjoyable precisely because of that. It takes some time for them to find out that something is wrong. But also for the viewers the plot is not that straightforward at the beginning.
The two guys Evan and Nathan could be in on this. Then there’s Harper’s boyfriend, Sam, who cannot be trusted. It gives an extra mystery to the whole plot.
Also the trauma that Harper still struggles with does play a part in the background and gives the story a little bit more depth. All the other characters stay somewhat flat, and serve mainly as slasher victims. But because they’re not stupid nor annoying, but rather likable, there demises are gruesome and all the more horrible for it.
Although it’s turning out to be a terrifying game, to kill or to be killed, the tension has a built up to a certain point. It doesn’t get nerve-racking or claustrophobic, and some props in the haunted house aren’t put to use. But instead of making use of the obvious there are some nice surprises that keep the group and the viewers on their toes.
The masked actors are really scary, but what hides behind such masks can be even more scary. There are several, a Ghost, a Clown, a Witch, a Vampire, a Devil and a Zombie. Mitch the Ghost is a very unreliable character that brings in more tension and suspense. This small amount of shifty characters makes it more thrilling not just a straight up killer hiding behind a mask. It’s not only what this attraction is about, hidden horrors, but also what hides behind a white picket fence or a loving boyfriend.
Although it’s not the most original haunted Halloween house movie, it doesn’t suffer from cliches either. It’s a great watch for Halloween or for slasher lovers.
My favorite part
My favorite part is the beginning. It really feels like you are entering the experience with them. Especially when you don’t know anything about the plot, it’s as scary and mysterious and exciting as it is for the group. When they come up to the glass wall and see the Witch supposedly torturing a girl it could go either way from there. The actors, the guys in the masks could be psychopaths, or there could be a lonesome psychopath on the loose, or it’s all a scheme made up by boyfriend Sam.
At that point when you don’t know yet, and the surprises are yet to come and when they do they don’t disappoint, you go along with the group through the haunted house. That part, the anticipation is really well done and delivers when the story unfolds.
Gore factor: ★☆☆☆☆
Scare factor: ★★★☆☆
Thrill factor: ★★★★☆
Gruesome factor: ★★★☆☆
Cast and crew
Haunt is directed and written by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. It stars Katie Stevens (Harper), Lauryn Alisa McClain (Bailey), Will Brittain (Nathan), Andrew Caldwell (Evan), Shaz Raja (Angela) and Schuyler Helford (Mallory).
Duration: 92 minutes. Music: tomandandy. Cinematography: Ryan Samul. Edited by: Terel Gibson. Produced by: Mark Fasano, Todd Garner, Eli Roth, Ankur Rungta, Vishal Rungta. Production companies: Broken Road Productions, Nickel City Pictures, Sierra/Affinity. Distributed by: Momentum Pictures.