Review: Haunt (2019)

Released: September 13, 2019
Directed by: Scott Beck & Bryan Woods
Starring: Katie Stevens, Will Brittain

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What’s it about?

On Halloween night, a group of friends decide to go to an “extreme” haunted house in the middle of nowhere in Illinois. They quickly realize that not only is this the place of nightmares, but also very real danger.

What did I think?

Haunt captured my attention, but was fairly mundane as far as horror movies go. With a producer like Eli Roth, you can expect a lot of gore and shocking moments, however it seemed like that was all the movie was.

They did not do much to establish the relationships between the characters. Harper (Stevens) is in an abusive relationship that her roommate, Bailey (Lauryn Alisa McClain), wants her to get out of. They go to a Halloween party, where they meet Nathan (Brittain). He apparently knows Bailey, but they don’t say how, and meets Harper for the first time. They have chemistry immediately, of course.

Other characters are introduced at this time, too, but I couldn’t tell you their names or anything about them. It was also unclear to me why this group of six ended up leaving the party together.

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They drop hints throughout the movie that a few of them know each other, but no further elaboration is made. I believe the movie would have been much more emotionally poignant had a stronger connection been fostered between our main characters.

The cast was not diverse at all, consisting of five white people and one woman of color. There were more women than men, which is great for the Bechtel Test, but when 3 of the 4 women are white, you still have a pretty bland casting.

The deaths throughout the movie were more shocking than anything else. There was gore and a little bit of torture porn, but I expected nothing less from a movie with Eli Roth’s name attached. I found that I didn’t care that much about most of the deadly situations because the characters didn’t seem to care very much.

Katie Stevens did a great job as Harper. I loved the chemistry that she had with Will Brittain. Her backstory – the only one we get to learn about – is tragic and drives her character’s actions in a very real and emotionally raw way.

The story itself was decent. The setting of a Halloween attraction was perfect for this type of horror. It’s almost Saw-like, but without that one sadistic villain to drive everything along. The bad guys in this movie are more mysterious, more supernatural, less sadistic, and more purpose driven.

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They pulled in a lot of recognizable horror movie tropes. I could see influences from Eli Roth’s other films, from Saw, from Carrie. They blended together into a decent B grade horror film.

Do I recommend it?

If you have a free couple of hours, Haunt is an interesting ride to go on if you don’t care about connecting with the characters. Definitely give it a watch and let me know what you think in the comments below!

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