Film Review : Haunter (2013)

IMDB Score – 5.8
Rotten Tomato Score – 52%
Netflix Watch Instant

Directed By – Vincenzo Natali
Starring – Abigail Breslin, Stephen McHattie, Peter DaCunha, Peter Outerbridge, Michelle Nolden, and Eleanor Zichy

The ghost of a teenager who died years ago reaches out to the land of the living in order to save someone from suffering her same fate.

There’s about two feet of snow on the ground right now and more is to follow. What does this mean? Beer and Netflix. “Haunter” hasn’t actually finished yet but I am totally finished with the film. I always finish movies whether I like them or not, and I’m still half paying attention, but I’m not missing much. I’ve seen all I needed to see. I remember when this hit on demand and being curious due to the fact that I have liked Vincenzo Natalis work in the past. “Cube” is one of those movies that I can watch at any time because of how much I appreciated the ambition and creativity. With a bigger budget, that film could have been amazing. Yet, it falls into the guilty pleasures section of my DVD collection. This wasn’t by lack of trying of course. The film just didn’t have the money to accomplish everything it wanted to. Natali was also responsible for one of 2009’s most interesting films, “Splice”, which was flawed and disturbing but goddamn was it entertaining. The fact that Stephen McHattie is in this film was the clincher that I’d check it out someday and BEHOLD…Netflix added it to its library today just in time for my snow storm. Now let’s try to figure out why this film sucks…

This film is too complex for it’s own good. What started out as a simple ghost mystery soon turned into a weave of confusion and plot twists that drained any life out of the original idea. This is the problem with trying to be too smart. People think that all the ideas have been done before so they’re going to have to compensate for this by throwing in twist after twist after twist. You know what this does? This takes the viewer out of the story completely, or at least it takes me out. Sometimes, the most simple of stories is what generates the most genuine reaction. Ti West is a good example. His two films “House of the Devil” and “The Gatekeepers” were slow burns that only featured one twist. They upped the suspense by keeping it grounded. Both are among my favorite horror films of the last decade. They didn’t try to blow the viewers mind but rather played to the strengths of ghost stories. They capitalized on the fears of being in a house/building that is creepy and let the imagination do the work. “Haunter force fed me discoveries. It didn’t let me figure out what was happening or give me time to try to guess what was going on. Every five minutes the path in which we were travelling to was pointed out and thus took all suspense away from the film. I don’t understand how people don’t understand this and keep making films that refuse the viewer the right to use their imagination. This is the key to horror films.

The acting was also pretty bad. Abigail Breslin can be a good actress. Obviously she was great in “Little Miss Sunshine” but we haven’t seen that kind of performance from her since. I haven’t seen “August: Osage County” yet but perhaps the stellar cast aound her brought something out because she was flat out awful in this. I don’t expect great acting in horror films but it’s the one thing that could make a bad film somewhat watchable. Look was “The Conjuring” did recently. The story was something that has been done twenty times a year but the acting, and the direction of course, was top notch, hence giving a pleasant experience. This wasn’t pleasant. This was stupid. Stephen McHattie, who is one of my favorite supporting actors, tried his best but the corniness of his character just didn’t work with his creepy way of delivering lines.

I was disappointed by how much I hated the film. I know that I haven’t loved any of Vincenzo Natalis films but I expected something enjoyable at least. Yet another horror/ghost story suffers the fate of being unoriginal and poorly executed. One day somebody is going to figure it out. Until then I’ll just have to keep waiting for Ti West to release his masterpiece and out horror films back in the spotlight.

1/5




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