Haunt – USA, 2019 – reviews

‘Some monsters are real’

Haunt is a 2019 American supernatural horror feature film written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (co-writers of A Quiet Place). Eli Roth (The House with a Clock in Its Walls; The Green Inferno; Hostel) produced.

The movie stars Katie Stevens (Polaroid), Will Brittain (Kong: Skull Island), Lauryn Alisa McClain and Andrew Caldwell (iZombie).

Plot:

On Halloween, a group of friends encounter an “extreme” haunted house that promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realisation that some nightmares are real…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“This is a professionally done picture, so even if there wasn’t much attention paid to the characters, there surely was on the general atmosphere of the thing. A handful of sequences, primarily the ones revolving around the masked maniacs, build a nice sense of foreboding […] Haunt isn’t a bad choice if you’re looking for some disposable Halloween horror; you can certainly do much worse.” Eric Walkuski, Arrow in the Head

“I’ll give it up for good looking photography that initially captures a crisp Fall feeling full of jack-o-lanterns and cool breezes rustling Midwestern leaves. Then the whole thing flattens underfoot in an effort best described as “entry-level horror.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

” …a movie that was so much better than I could have ever dreamt of. Everybody seems to really be having fun with this project in the sense that they want to surprise and give horror fans something to truly enjoy. Well, mission accomplished.” Karina Adelgaard, Heaven of Horror

“Horror films are meant to be fun and scary but they can serve up a few life lessons. Scott Beck and Bryan Woods made a movie that can be watched every year and at Halloween […] This cast did a good job. Katie Stevens played Harper with courage. She took the trauma that her character’s younger self suffered through and turned it into the will to keep fighting.” Janel Spiegel, HNN

” …it captures the spirit of Halloween, spins it on its head and then unleashes those vibes right onto the screen. To be honest, Haunt is one of the better produced Eli Roth movies to come out in recent years and I’m definitely a fan of this title. Haunt is a never-ending nightmare of carnage and heart-stopping moments.” Michael Therkelsen, Horror Society

” …the most basic, down-the-line, you-get-exactly-what-you-paid-for no-frills version of the killer haunt theme, mounted with decent production values, a competent young cast, well-staged shocks and horrors, a modicum of off-the-shelf creepiness appropriate to an environment where clichés would be mandatory.” The Kim Newman Web Site

“If you go into Haunt expecting a fantastic new film from the guys that wrote A Quiet Place you’ll be disappointed. If you go into Haunt expecting a cliched slasher movie set in a haunted house attraction then you might actually enjoy what’s on offer. Just don’t expect the unexpected.” Phil Wheat, Nerdly

“The creepily malevolent grotesques running the show make little sense as characters, but what is more important here is the way that they and their environs come to reflect Harper’s own history and trauma, giving her an opportunity to restage a confrontation of which, as a child, she was not capable.” Anton Bitel, SciFiNow

“The actors aren’t given much character complexity to work with, but neither do they portray stock cannon-fodder types, and all acquit themselves well. The same can be said for Haunt in general: It offers nothing particularly new, yet it fulfills the only requirement that really matters for this kind of movie — it’s scary.” Dennis Harvey, Variety

” …the usual slasher cliches. The group splitting up, trusting people they should know not to trust, etc. It’s not badly done, there are some good scares and the obligatory childhood trauma element is worked in nicely. But it’s all very, very predictable, right down to the final scene.” Jim Morazzini, Voices from the Balcony

Release:

Haunt will be released on DVD by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on October 15th, 2019. Bizarrely, in this age of HD as standard, a 1080p Blu-ray release has not been announced. Yet.

Special features for the 480p DVD:

  • Audio commentary with writers/directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods
  • Behind the Haunt featurette
  • The Sound of Haunt featurette

Prior to its home video debut, Haunt is released theatrically and on VOD on September 13th by Momentum Pictures.

Background:

Scott Beck told Entertainment Weekly: “The shoot was incredible because, first and foremost, with our production designer, and our art direction team, we were able to build our own haunted house, that had functioning gags.”

He continued: “That was like being in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, getting to roam around these extravagant incredible sets. Beyond that, we got to actually film over Halloween, which led to this incredible camaraderie of everyone just wanting to enjoy the season, and throw all of that fun energy of what Halloween season really is into the movie.”

Cast and characters:

  • Katie Stevens … Harper
  • Will Brittain … Nathan
  • Lauryn Alisa McClain … Bailey
  • Andrew Caldwell … Evan
  • Shazi Raja … Angela
  • Schuyler Helford … Mallory
  • Phillip Johnson Richardson … Ty Hoffman
  • Chaney Morrow … Ghost
  • Justin Marxen … Clown
  • Terri Partyka … Witch
  • Justin Rose … Vampire
  • Damian Maffei … Devil
  • Schuyler White … Zombie
  • Samuel Hunt … Sam
  • Karra Rae Robinson … Young Woman

Production companies:

  • Broken Road Productions
  • Nickel City Pictures
  • Sierra / Affinity

Skip the first three minutes to get to the review:

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