Directed By: Scott Beck & Bryan Woods, Written By: Scott Beck & Bryan Woods, Starring: Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, Andrew Caldwell & Shazi Raja.
Horror movies that take place at a scare attraction are nothing new. The likes of The House October Built (2014), Hell House LLC (2015), The Hollow (2004) and Hell Fest (2018) see at least one released each year. So right off the bat, you have a fair idea of what you’re going to get with Haunt.
The synopsis is pretty standard fare. Drunken, obnoxious teenagers roll up at a scare attraction and for the first 20-minutes or so think it’s all fake and amusing. At some point during the movie, something shocks them into the reality that ‘holy shit!’ It’s been real the entire time. Cue the screaming and the fighting for survival etc…
Movie subgenres have a tendency to outstay their welcome. Whether it be the whole ‘found footage’ thing, or lank-haired Asian ghost girls, sooner or later something that once felt novel or fresh is going to get on your tits. Surprisingly, this wasn’t the case, and I enjoyed Haunt more than I expected to.
Sure, the teenagers were annoying. We have the standard bunch present and correct. The asshole jock, the slutty bitch, the virginal good girl and her pretty boy love interest. All checkboxes are ticked. All tropes crossed off.
None of this matters though because I didn’t feel like I was expected to root for any of the characters. Haunt is a movie that prefers to set everyone up as cannon fodder and then gleefully kill them off. If, like me, that’s what you hope to see in a movie, then fuck interesting character development. Kill em all!
The psychopaths that run the haunted house run around in cheap Halloween masks. It’s when their masks come off that they become most freaky. Their love of body modification taken a little too far.
The credits boast Eli Roth (Hostel, Knock Knock) as a producer, but I’m pretty sure he only added his name to the movie to lend weight and earn a fast buck. Eli’s stamp isn’t really felt throughout the film’s runtime. I like Roth. I think when he is on his game he is a smart, competent filmmaker with a real understanding and passion for the genre. At no point does Haunt feel like an Eli Roth film, other than the blood and guts on screen.
The cast does a fairly good job with what they are given to work with. They have roles to fill and fill them they do. It comes as no surprise that they are largely unknown actors, but it doesn’t matter.
As far as the scare attraction theme for horror movies goes, I can’t help but think that it’s run its course. I liked The Houses October Built, but I thought its sequel sucked. As for the Hell House LLC movies… Go back and read my review of part 3 and you can see exactly what I think of those festering sacks of cinematic excrement.
If you find yourself browsing for a movie that has something new and interesting to offer, you might want to consider giving Haunt a miss. If, however, you’re hungover and fancy something that doesn’t require much in the way of thinking about. If you just want to see some teenage douchebags being brutalised, then this movie is a perfect pick to meet those requirements.