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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

HAUNT (Film Review)


                                   Starring: Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, Lauryn Alissa McClain

                                    Directed by: Scott Beck and Bryan Woods

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  Much like the tried-and-true "haunted psychiatric hospital" films that plagued the system some years ago, now it appears as if the Halloween haunted house set has become the latest victim of "let's take a backdrop and kick the ever-loving shit out of it" - storyline speaking. The most recent project to come tumbling down the assembly line of frights is Haunt, a co-directorial feature from Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, and produced by a quintet of talents but most notably Mr. Eli Roth...which is why I felt so cheated after the credits rolled on this one.

  As I mentioned in the above babbling, this presentation is set against the spooky interior of a local haunted house attraction that is intentionally stumbled upon by our stereotypical sextet of annoying youths, led by the attractive Harper (Stevens) - the only one out of this mess who added anything interesting to the story. She and her pals locate the creepy destination at the suggestion of one of the group, and it's off into the dark they go...completely oblivious to the dangers that await inside - wait, isn't that the point here? Well, it certainly doesn't take long after the friends step foot inside these creepy confines (rather uncrowded, I might add) do they encounter some activity that could be perceived as "not the norm for a paying crowd." The sad thing here is that in more than one instance, the camera is all-too-happy to cut away before we get to see something violently beneficial and at the risk of sounding like a completely malcontented soul, it's just not something that whets my appetite. Less than intelligent scare-seekers are terrorized by costumed lunatics inside a fully-functioning haunted attraction...(YAWN) - whoops, sorry - nodded off for a second...let's wrap this up, shall we?

 Tension is sliced in half when the aforementioned cut-away happens, and it's a damning effect on a film that acted as if it were under some serious time constraints. While some redemption is gained with a few messy kills, the saving grace (at least partially) are the sets themselves, with blinding neons and darker-than-darks that will have your screens speaking in technicolor, the look of the film is top-notch. Unfortunately, it was going to take a LOT MORE than just some splashy sets to liven up this flat-lined attempt at seasonal horror entertainment - Haunt is more than likely going to be a "one and done" for the majority of thrill-seeking fans, and if you really want something terrifying to come Halloween, how's about a plastic pumpkin full of coconut-chocolates? Now there's something that would have me running for cover.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5

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