|Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Copperheart Entertainment, Wild Bunch
October 25th, 2013
Release length: 1:37:00
The main premise of this film is rather simple. Lisa (Abigail Breslin) has realized that her and her family just keep repeating the day before her sixteenth birthday over and over. Nothing ever really changes other than how the dialogue of the days events are delivered. She is woken up daily by her little brother, she does the same laundry, gets in the same discussion about missing clothes, has the same dinner, then goes be, only to wake up and find she has to do it all over again. Every day she tries to tell her family of the repetition going on, but they look at her as if she’s crazy. This plays out through the first third of the movie, making it immediately known that they have died at some point, and Lisa is aware of it.
As the days continue on, little cracks in the repeating fabric of her life continue to grow, leading to her desire to learn what it was that killed her and her family, and how one man seems to be the reason this is going on. This leads to her investigating a series of homicides, and connecting with other girls in order to unravel it and try to free herself and her loved ones from the house and The Pale Man (Stephen McHattie) who seems to be the one controlling their every day lives now. Of course, the deeper she digs in an effort to break out, as well as help another family in need, the more threatening The Pale Man becomes, showing how he can easily torture her family, or even just outright kill them off again, leaving her all alone in that house for all eternity.
With a stylish production quality, Haunters always manages to set the proper tone. With Lisa’s ability to connect with other girls from different time periods in the house, certain filters are used to play up that specific era, as well as the plain she is in. Whenever she manages to cross over into the world of Olivia (Eleanor Zichy), the darker visuals and filters used give way to brighter, whiter lighting effects. With the acting being well done by almost everyone, Robbie (Peter DaCunha) really being the only person on set who seems a bit forced into the role (though this is more than likely due to his age), you can’t help but feel for some of these characters, especially Lisa, wanting her to be able to stay in the warmth of that light instead of going back to the oppressive darker eighties household she resides in with the ominous Pale Man able to show up whenever he wants.
The more the story unfolds, the more you continue to guess. One conclusion you may draw will have a completely different answer, keeping you wondering what the next twist or turn may end up being, especially when the worlds start to merge and the daily activities of the family members change drastically for the better, or for the worst. Every little thing in this film has a reason to be there, even if it sometimes does seem a bit unbelievable. Sadly, while the film leaves you guessing, the ending doesn’t really hit that same attention grabbing mark of satisfaction. The mystery is solved, but how the final conflict is resolved seems a bit too weak visually for such a strong story line, even if it really is the best logical way to wrap this up and give the viewer closure.
Haunter literally seems to appear out of nowhere, being one of the more important films to come out of 2013. This isn’t a stylish flash-in-the-pain film about ghosts, but rather a well composed Mystery with a Beetlejuice meets Freddy Kreuger Horror twist that makes you feel for the main characters and their given plight. The only downfall here is the conclusion just isn’t strong enough to make it feel like it was worth the build up, as well as being a bit too bland a punishment for such a heinous and grand scheme that went on for so many years. If you want a film that will leave you guessing, moving along at a consistently fast pace with little filler to pad out the length, then this is something you will want to check out. With brilliant lighting and visuals, organic post production effects, and a stellar cast, Haunter ends up a truly enjoyable experience.
|Overall Score: 8/10