Directed by Vincenzo Natali
Starring Abigail Breslin, Stephen McHattie, Samantha Weinstein
Review by Jordan
The story of a teenage girl Lisa (Breslin) who harbours a distinct disconnect from her seemingly idealistic family, and her discovery that she is repeating the same day over and over again before encountering The Pale Man (a gleefully creepy Stephen McHattie) and realising the truth of her past and the lengths she must go to in order to save others from encountering the same fate, Vincenzo Natali’s Haunter represents a stark deviation for a director once heralded as the next master in scientific horror/thrillers, thanks to his breakthrough cult hit Cube (1997) and uncomfortably weird Splice (2009).
Unfortunately though, despite boasting a refreshingly original story and fantastic villain, in failing to create a single authentic scare and remain of interest for its slim running time, this haunted house loses tremendous value and will more-than likely only remain in viewers memory for the so-bad-they’re-terrific performances of Michelle Nolden and Peter Outerbridge (wearing more makeup than Cameron Diaz trying to remain sexy) as Lisa’s mother and father, and an imaginary friend you would not wish upon your worst enemy. The plot meanders at snail’s pace, meaning that when we are made to witness the same events occur for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time it becomes frustratingly monotonous, eradicating any care previously had for Lisa or how this tale is set to end, and with scares continuously being chased by constantly resorting to loud, obnoxious orchestral cues, slamming doors or just randomly noisy, utterly irksome sounds Haunter truly begins to grate and test ones patience.
When I first saw Splice (starring Adrian Brody and Canada’s favourite actress Sarah Polley) I found it alarmingly awful, and on a psychological level quite troubling, but as time went by and my thoughts matured to the extent I needed to see it again, I found that awful had become simply awe. For Natali’s sake I hope the same thing occurs here, but with so little to even dwell on, and such obviously poor, lazy direction (we know that Lisa is a misunderstood teen not because of Abigail Breslin’s acting, but because of the Joy Division and David Bowie posters on her bedroom wall) I can’t see it happening… I hold prejudices (a dislike, really) towards certain people in the film industry for often no real reason at all (Ellen Page, Will Smith and his whole family, Christian Bale) but here I believe my uncertainly towards Breslin’s acting ability is proved warranted; her three face expressions and look of total un-involvement further hurting a film already burdened with a severe limp.
Like The Others shed of all sense of cinematic quality, Haunter exists as a perfect example of a well-made student film. The only problem being, it’s a feature.
1.5 quick bicycle rides out of 5
- Abigail Breslin Takes Lead Ghost Duties in Haunter (huffingtonpost.com)
- Haunter (rogerebert.com)
- Movie Review: ‘Haunter,’ a Horror Film Starring Abigail Breslin (nytimes.com)