18 Oct 2013

'Haunter' Review

Director: Vincenzo Natali
Writer: Brian King, Matthew Brian King
Stars: Abigail Breslin, Stephen McHattie, David Hewlette
Running Time: 97 mins
Sub-Genre: Supernatural, Mystery, Thriller
Release: October 2013

The ghost of a teenager who died years ago reaches out to the land of the living in order to save someone from suffering her same fate.

Haunter, this years most obscure supernatural horror starring Zombieland's Abigail Breslin hit selected theaters this week, and without an opinion on the flick I went straight into this one. Thankfully I came out with no major regrets, and aside from a few drawn-backs, I found Haunter an intelligently twisted addition to 2013's Supernatural sub-genre.

Haunter starts off with ease, establishing it's mangled plot from the get-go, and with it's dark tone comes its fun mannerisms that Breslin brings to the table; after the 15 minutes of playful intensity comes 60 minutes of deeply dark and horrifying origins that aside from their tedious affair become quite effective. Haunter may strike ambition, but drags behind in delivering something engaging, and although the story alone is enough to keep you watching until the end, the material becomes quite repetitive, and in the way that we get the same recycled nonsense without the horror over and over; luckily the film ends at a point were the repetition becomes to tiring.

Not scary enough to be considered a "horror", not thrilling enough to be a "thriller" - Haunter never really finds its groove, so it fails to identify what it's trying to accomplish, especially with the narrative that by the end up becomes a bit of a muddled mess. In saying this, it's strong in what it's doing, and it may not establish its motive with crisp perfection, we are still able to make out past the blurred front that it's something unique, and something with great potential; all of which wasn't presented as well as it should have been, but well enough to create a fascinatingly disturbed supernatural piece.

Abigail Breslin may not be the hottest kid around with the acting, perhaps beaten by upcoming Carrie Chloe Grace Moretz, but she does a decent job at displaying the typical soon-to-be 16 year old who isn't afraid to accompany matter with mind. Her acting is a little sloppy here and there, but her display of the distraught yet intelligent teen Lisa works to an extent were she becomes the gears of the film. We may just be looking at a new Scream-Queen within Abigail Breslin.

VERDICT: The plot is strong enough to carry the film, as is Breslin, and with its dark intensity and twisted ambition, it makes this one of the smartest horror's of the year; though it was too muddled and tedious for its own good.

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