Saturday, 31 August 2013

Frightfest 2013: Haunter

“Lisa Johnson, Edgar and I are collecting treasure in the pirate cave”  a brief recap of the line that will haunt you the most from upcoming horror tale Haunter. While it starts the film in innocence, those words echo something far more unpleasant as the film continues.

Haunter is a bizarre little movie that combines a life after death existence with Groundhog Day and Nancy Drew. This movie has the potential to be something truly breathtaking in the horror genre, but sadly it falls foul of its only clever story forty-five minutes in and does not manage to get it’s strength back. 

Circling around Lisa (Abigail Breslin) who makes a rather unpleasant discovery one morning when her life pans out exactly the same way as it did the day before, but only she can see it. Keen to try and get to the bottom of this big mystery, Lisa tries to uncover this weird Groundhog Day existence, but the discovery is not quite as she expected.

Haunter works so well for half, then fails so badly for the second half, it’s truly disappointing. I have never encountered a movie that has swung round so badly so quickly, 30 minutes in and this was one of the most promising movies I had seen in decades, but it was the exact point I realized this that things went wrong. The repetition that was once haunting became completely lackluster as soon as you start to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

The performances in the film are good, particularly from Breslin and Stephen McHattie best known for his performance in Pontypool. But good performances do not allow the film to recover from the hell-hole it slips into.

It’s upsetting to slate a movie that worked so well for much of the story, but there is so much unexplained, so much repetition, so much boredom this 97 minute film feels like 197 minutes by it’s rather uninspiring conclusion. 

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