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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Review: Haunt

Director: Scott Beck and Brian Woods
Screenplay: Scott Beck and Brian Woods
Year: 2019

Haunted houses are one of the favorite activities for the fans of horror and scares to do during the Halloween season. These attractions offer a good dose of terrifying characters and situations a few centimeters away from your body but with a sense of security, that is of great importance to enjoy them. But. what if the security part is taken off? Well, this is just the premise that sets off “Haunt”.

In “Haunt”, a group of friends goes to an extreme haunted house to have a good scary time. At first, everything seems too sinister, but they assume it’s part of the experience and they get into the attraction. Once in, some stuff starts going one that seems too excessive for this kind of attraction and they start suspecting something’s off once they start to increase in intensity. What follows is a race through a maze for saving their lives while they are stalked by masked psychopaths willing to harm them.

Scott Beck and Brian Woods, both responsible for the 2018 success “A Quiet Place”, bring this story that has all the requisites of a slasher, Once the group enters the house, not much time has to pass before the scares and blood starts flowing. The first death serves to put in context the group of friends about how real the dangers they face are, and the viewer as to know what to expect from these scenes. 

Among the team of producer for this movie, there is Eli Roth, known for his extreme gore style in movies like “Hostel” and “The Green Inferno”, why scenes of this type are expected. Although they don’t reach exaggerated levels, gore scenes are graphic and well achieved; those that will lead you to put your hands to your mouth and raise your legs to a fetal position like soliciting for some sort of maternal protection.

The most interesting part of this movie are the villains. Initially, they are shown in masks and outfits suitable for Halloween, which are terrifying on their own. Once their faces are revealed, they have a stunning effect way superior to that of the masks and instead of being terrifying, they are simply brought straight from a nightmare. On the contrary, the group of friends is nothing more than a composite of cliché characters that you will not remember their names a few minutes after the movie is over. None of them are developed except for Harper (Katie Stevens; “Polaroid”) for which some of her abusive relationship with her father is shown and how she still has issues with post-traumatic stress disorder, but nothing too important to the plot.

Horror movie clichés is right where the main problem of “Haunt” lays. While some of them serve to generate the tense atmosphere that dominates throughout the whole movie, much of them diminish its quality. Some of the scares or important even to movie the story require the characters to be perfectly positioned somewhere, which hinders credibility. This problem also makes the viewer that has some experience with horror movies to be able to anticipate much of what happens.

Although far from the quality of “A Quiet Place”, Scott Beck and Brian Woods again bring a very good horror movie, putting their names on the radar of fans of this genre. They present original villains inside a story we have seen before, and contribute new and interesting things to keep the viewer with his sight fixed on the screen until some gore scene makes its way, in which many will not be able to avoid looking somewhere else. Like with “Candy Corn”, this is another title released this year that goes right into the lists for favorite movies to watch during the Halloween season.

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