It’s tough when you can’t fall in love with a movie you admire but, unfortunately, director Vincenzo Natali (the excellent Splice) is unable to bring his usual flair to the heavily uneven Haunter. After getting easily hooked into the film via an incredibly interesting first act, I found myself losing more and more interest as the movie began to throw its own rules out the window.
Abigail Breslin is excellent as Lisa, a mopey new-wave teen who also happens to be dead and stuck in 1986. Her whole family is dead too, but she’s the only one who’s actually aware of their predicament. Thus, her family enacts the same routine every day and treats her as if she’s acting out when she tries to tell them that she’s tired of having meatloaf for the thousandth day in a row. It’s an interesting concept, The Others meets Groundhog Day. Some truly special stuff comes out of this early on as Natali and screenwriter Brian King nicely develop their world. There’s a moment about halfway though when Lisa’s father suddenly starts smoking at dinner – not part of his normal routine – that signals the onset of what I assumed would be a truly remarkable second half.
Sadly, the remarkable version never shows up. Instead, Haunter disappears down a convoluted rabbit hole once Lisa’s objective – to save the family living in the 2013 version of their house – becomes clear. There’s very little that works after this point. We never get to know the family Lisa’s trying to save well enough (or at all, really) to become truly invested. It’s a horror movie, so when you place the innocent and anonymous in peril the audience doesn’t really care if they die or not. But Haunter isn’t interested in providing that type of investment. The film becomes obsessed with the ins and outs of ghost time travel (that’s a thing here) and, much like its’ protagonists, disappears into a virtual limbo.
Stephen McHattie (Pontypool) is effectively creepy as the film’s villain, but the energy around his motives and actions is so laconic and thinly drawn that his efforts are effectively neutered. An evil lacking any sort of definition, he’s sort of reduced to mugging for the camera by the end. Additionally, in what seems like a bid to appeal to younger teens and a PG-13 rating, the film lacks any punch whatsoever. Brightly lit with people learning important life (or death, I suppose) lessons, I was fairly shocked by the gummy toothlessness of its ending.
Haunter isn’t a bad film, and I certainly commend it for trying something new, I just wish it hadn’t gone in the direction it did. It starts with the makings of a modest miracle, but eventually uses up exactly as much goodwill as it earns. Hopefully it just serves as the ultimate palate cleanser (and expectation diminisher) before Natali returns back to better waters.
Randall Cole’s 388 Arlette Avenue opens Nationwide On Demand (Cable VOD, iTunes, Amazon, VUDU, Samsung Media Hub) today. The Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice) produced horror flick starring Nick Stahl, Mia Kirshner and Devon Sawa will also play select midnight screenings on May 18th! For more info head here.
“Shot from the point of view of hidden cameras, the film follows a thirty-something couple, James and Amy Deakin, as they are secretly videotaped 24/7 by a mysterious stalker in their home, on the streets and at their workplace. The stalker uses information gleaned from the footage to subtly manipulate the unsuspecting couple and cracks in their relationship surface. When Amy suddenly vanishes, James is not sure whether she has been abducted or has simply left him. As the acts of the tormentor become more twisted and violent, James desperately tries to figure out who is behind the terror in order to save his wife. But it seems the stalker is always one move ahead…”
In the clip, “James and Amy live a quiet life in their suburban home on Arletta Avenue – but someone is watching them. With concealed cameras capturing every angle of their world, a faceless voyeur begins to manipulate the couple. When Amy suddenly disappears without a trace, James becomes increasingly paranoid and desperate in his search for answers, but he’s yet to realize just how deep this twisted tormentor’s reach goes into their lives.”
Head inside to check it out. READ MORE
You got to love Sideshow Collectibles, even though you have to be rich (or extremely single) to afford anything they sell.
Within their “12 Days of Sideshow” web initiative, the company revealed a pair of new statues that are going to blow the most hardcore of horror fans.
As seen above, they’re in progress on a Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark statuette. The film, produced and quasi-directed by Guillermo del Toro, follows a little girl as she’s attacked by the creatures that inspired “the Tooth Fairy”. It arroves on both DVD and Blu-ray today!
Sideshow is also getting behind an even more obscure horror film, Vincenzo Natali’s awesome Splice, which features the genetically modified Dren in his/her early stages. It will be nearly life-sized.
Check out images of both inside with more details in this mailer. READ MORE
UPDATE: Bloody Disgusting learned that Randall Cole (’19 Months,’ ‘Real Time’) is directing and Nick Stahl (‘Sin City,’ ‘Terminator 3′) stars! Check out the synopsis inside! Splice and Cube director Vincenzo Natali is spreading himself thin as he’s not only working with Richard Stanley on an adaptation of High Rise, but he’s also brining us a segment of the Paris, I’ll Kill You anthology. Next up on his list is a new horror thriller being teased at AFM, 388 Arletta Avenue, which states that Natali will play producer on the pic. Looking to take a stab at the cinema verite genre, the tagline states: “ You’re on camera.” Check it out inside.
After spending the past month igniting stages across Europe with Bullet For My Valentine and Atreyu, the CANCER BATS return home this summer to bring their mountainous grooves and explosive blend of punk and metal to venues across Canada.
Before heading to the west coast to begin their tour across Canada, the CANCER BATS will perform at the 2010 S.C.E.N.E Music Festival in St. Catharines and will be part of the brand new “COOL TOUR” which will be hitting cities across the US in July. In association with Metal Blade Records, Atticus Black by Atticus Clothing, and Musician’s Institute College of Contemporary Music, the “COOL TOUR” features As I Lay Dying, Underoath, Architects, and many more. The tour has one Canadian stop in Toronto.
Make sure enter the Exclusive Bloody-Disgusting Cool Tour contest HERE
Superstar genetic engineers Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) specialize in splicing together DNA from different animals to create incredible new hybrids. Now they secretly conduct their own experiments. The result is Dren, an amazing, strangely beautiful creature that exceeds their wildest dreams, until she threatens to become their worst nightmare.