May 9, 2014 Haunt (Movie review)
Are some houses evil or do the events happening in them make them retain evil?
In 2013, Director Mac Carter and Writer Andrew Barrer made their big screen debut with Haunt; creating a excellent example of a haunted house horror film. Originally released on November 6th, 2013 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the film had a theatrical release on March 7th . Headed by Oscar winning Australian actress Jackie Weaver (Silver Linnings Playbook 2012, Animal Kindgdom 2010), Haunt follows the story of the Asher family who start a new beginning by moving into a new house. Unbeknownst to them, the house used to belong to Janet (Jackie Weaver), her late husband Franklin Morello (Carl Hadra), and their three deceased children Matthew, Hillary and Kate.
The backstory of the Morello’s is Janet, a Pediatrician, and husband Franklin, a Dentist, setup their respective practices in their new home. One by one they tragically die, except for Janet. Shortly thereafter, talk of a Morello curse caused her medical practice to dry up; who wants to visit a Doctor that cannot keep her own family alive? Fast forward a few months and Janet is forced to move as the bank forecloses on her house, thus bringing the Ashers to buy the former Morello home.
Emily Asher (played by Ione Skye- Say Anything 1989, Wayne’s World 1992) and husband Alan (played by Brian Wimmer –Flipper 1995, Tank Girl 1995) also have three kids; a teenage son Evan ( played by Harrison Gilbertson – Need for Speed 2014, Beneath Hill 60 2010) and two daughters, Sara ( played by Danielle Chuchran – The Cat in the Hat 2003, Little Secrets 2001) and Anita ( played by Ella Harris – Moon 2009, Fantastic Mr Fox 2009).
Troubled eighteen year old Evan takes the attic bedroom with a creepy closet, which coincidentally used to be Matthew Morellos room. After meeting equally troubled girl next door Sam ( played by Liana Liberato – Trust 2010, Erased 2012), they strike up an instant bond and spend most of their time together. Almost instantly, when Sam starts sleeping and staying with Evan, strange things start happening in the house. After they find an evp machine in the closet, they attempt to contact the dead Morello kids. They are successful in their efforts and after another attempt to contact someone, the paranormal activity in the house escalates, focusing its energy and efforts mostly towards Sam and Evan. Fortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Asher are very flexible and accept Sam readily into their family fold, but they do seem to be absent during most of the flare ups.
As the movie unfolds, the malevolent spirit seeks its bloody revenge. Sam discovers through the spirits persistence that her parentage is not what she thought, that she is more tied to the Morellos and the house than she could imagine. Fateful events push the spirit, and Sam and Evan, to their physical and mental limits. The constant evil aura of Janet Morello adds to their fear and confusion, revealing Janet could have had more to do with the deaths of her family than first meets the eye. The race is on to see who succeeds in the end. Will the dark secrets be revealed in time to stop the curse from repeating itself?
Haunt is an innovative haunted house story, filled with plenty of unique twists and turns you would not see coming and plenty suspense building moments to keep you on the edge of your seat. All loose ends are tied up, but it still leaves enough room for your imagination to run free. The only hole perhaps is the often convenient disappearances of the Asher parents until its too late. The musical score by German Reinhold Heil (Cloud Atlas 2012, Land of the Dead 2005, Without a Trace) adds to the mounting tension through the movie. A must see for all suspenseful horror fans with just the right touch of blood and gore. CrypticRock give Haunt 4 out of 5 stars.
Per-order Haunt on DVD due out June 10th, 2014 on Amazon.