Review: ‘Haunt’ harkens back to true slasher terror.

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On Halloween, a group of friends encounters an “extreme” haunted house that promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realization that some monsters are real. Written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, co-writers and executive producers of the critically acclaimed A Quiet Place, HAUNT stars Katie Stevens (“Faking It”, “The Bold Type”), Will Brittain (Kong: Skull Island, Everybody Wants Some!!) and Lauryn Alisa McClain (“Descendants: Wicked World,” Daddy’s Little Girls).

 

Haunt takes advantage of all the horror tropes. This film is deranged as hell. One kill actually made me physically cringe. But they just got crazier from there. The special effects make-up is masterful. Body horror at its finest. Performances are top-notch, all around. While there are so many unanswered questions left on the table and the ending, while emotionally satisfying, felt a bit out of place, there’s no denying that Haunt is a superb combination of trick and treat. The sets were built in an old dairy factory in the middle of Kentucky. The cast and crew even had the opportunity to shoot on Halloween.

Each room and path inside the set is carefully curated from iconic imagery. If I were a betting woman, and I am, I might inject my own ideas of which films some of the imagery comes from. Besides the blatant references to Night Of the Living Dead, perhaps there are elements from Freaks to The People Under The Stairs. The villains still feel like a complete mystery but they are phenomenally effective. As a fan of haunted houses, this film resonated with me. I talk a big game and will watch any gorefest you throw my way, but it’s the visceral terror of the dark and unknown that makes your palms sweat every time. Beck and Woods have made Haunt a winner in all categories. And extra lucky for them, the release is not only on Friday the 13th but it’s also a full moon. What are the odds?

 

Momentum Pictures will release the horror/thriller HAUNT in Theaters, On Demand and Digital September 13, 2019.

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