Directed by Scott Beck [Other horror films: Nightlight (2015)] & Bryan Woods [Other horror films: Nightlight (2015)]
I really thought I was going to like this one a lot more than I eventually did. Haunt certainly had a lot of potential, and it truly was tense up to a point, and the build-up? Damn solid. But it really loses it’s thread during the second half of the film, and when all is said and done, I don’t think Haunt will be that memorable in the years to come.
What does Haunt get right? Well, the idea, while nowhere near original (House of Purgatory and Hell House LLC called, and [insert end of played out joke here]), did the extreme haunted house thing well. The spider hallways (fake spider webs with fake, and also real, spiders) freaked me out, the branding room was done nicely, that crawling area solidly claustrophobic, and the tension palpable.
Though the performances are somewhat forgettable come the ending of the movie, most of them do okay. Andrew Caldwell was decently amusing at times, though Will Brittain was really generic. I wasn’t really wowed with Schuyler Helford, Shazi Raja, or Lauryn Alisa McClain, but none of them were necessarily bad either. It’s Katie Stevens, as the main girl, who made the most impact, especially with the emotional sucker-punch that was the flashback, giving her character and situation (including an abusive ex-boyfriend) more depth. I wouldn’t even say she was amazing, but she was the most consistently solid cast member, in my view.
Where Haunt starts losing stream is with the perpetrators of the haunted house. I won’t, for the sake of spoiling things, delve much into this, but let’s just say where they go with the identity of these people leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. Also, what they do with Samuel Hunt’s character is lackluster. And the ending? Gorry, what an utter disappointment.
Keep the first half of the film, and change everything about the latter half, and Haunt is a good movie worth a few rewatches. But in the form they went with, Haunt has the sizzle but lacks the steak. It’s all hat and no cattle. It’s – okay, I’ve run out of idioms, but seriously, Haunt really could have been a pretty solid movie, but ultimately, I think it’ll end up being a forgettable flavor-of-the-week.
Haunt is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast on episode #21. Here’s a clip of Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discussing it.