Sunday, February 16, 2014

Haunter Movie Review – Things Aren't Always What They Appear

Runtime: 97 minutes
Release Date: October 18, 2013
Rating: NR
Director: Vincenzo Natali

Lisa (Abigail Breslin, The Call) is an ordinary teenage girl. On the day before her sixteenth birthday, she wakes and finds that fog rolled in through town, making it impossible to go for a bike ride or even leave her house. After watching her brother Robbie play an Atari game and talk to his imaginary friend Edgar, she notices that something seems strange about her house. The next day, she wakes, and it's the same day all over again.

Her mother lectures her on the clothes missing from the washer, while her father seems overly upset and angry about the car that needs repaired. After experiencing the same day several times, Lisa comes to the startling realization that her family is dead. They keep reliving the last day they spent together. She also realizes that The Pale Man (Stephen McHattie, Pontypool), who suddenly appears from out of nowhere, has a connection to her home.

Things become even more complicated when Lisa runs into the ghost of Frances, a young woman murdered in the house, and when she suddenly finds herself seeing flashes of the future. After waking in the body of Olive, a young woman from modern times, she realizes that whatever happened to her family will just keep happening again and again. She sees Olive's father shouting about his car, her parents fighting to the point that the father throws things, and the Olive's sister upset and crying. Lisa must find a way to end the ghostly cycle that keeps taking over her home.

I know I haven't been that positive about most of the horror films I viewed recently, but Haunter changed my mind. Just when I thought that my streak of bad luck would continue, I randomly stumbled across this little gem in Family Video. The cover caught my eye, but it was the film that kept my attention.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it was that I liked about the film. It's fairly predictable and anyone who doesn't see the twists coming probably wasn't paying attention, but I actually liked that. You have the one "twist," which is that Lisa and her family is dead, but that was something the film set up early on. You then get the twist about The Pale Man, and then you get a completely different twist when the film jumps into the future.

The acting in Haunter was much better than I expected too. Breslin isn't an actress that I particularly like, and when I saw The Cell, I actually found her pretty annoying. She's still a tad annoying her, but I think it's just because of the way the writer wrote her character.

The real standout is Peter DaCunha, who plays her little brother Robbie. There's a scene, where Lisa sees him wearing glasses for the first time and asks him when he started wearing glasses. When he looks up at her and tells her that he never wore them because he wore them the night the bad stuff happened, I got chills. Seeing a little boy afraid to wear his glasses because he knows he wore them when he died was pretty intense.

I try not to read too much about movies before I see them, and I literally heard nothing about Haunter until after I watched it. I'm glad I did because it didn't get such great reviews, but I really liked it.

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