The new film by “A Quiet Place” writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods is much louder than their silent film debut. It is precisely for this reason that HAUNT opinions differ. We reveal in our review why we are supporters of the film.
Was that ever a real person?
The plot summary
Halloween 2019: Looking for thrills and a special kick, student Harper (Katie Stevens) and her friends discover a remote haunted house that promises horror and terror to visitors. The prospect of a shocking highlight causes the teenagers to ignore all concerns and hand over their cell phones at the entrance. While the horror attractions and exhibits in the first rooms can only elicit a weary smile from the curious group, the supposed fun turns deadly serious when a young girl is apparently tortured to death in one of the chambers. Knowing that they have fallen into a trap, the friends have no choice but to penetrate deeper into the complex property and look for a way out. However, escaping from this hell seems impossible: every room is riddled with secret and deadly traps. Who will survive the perfidious game?
Haunt Movie Meaning & ending
The two authors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods experienced a massive surge in popularity last year with their script for the horror surprise hit “A Quiet Place” . After various short and under-the-radar feature films (“For Always,” “The Bride Wore Blood”), the two colleagues immediately became the most acclaimed horror writers in Hollywood and began making “A Quiet Place” shortly after its theatrical release commissioned for a second part. Parallel to part one of this alien dystopia, which is probably growing into a series, the two were working on their script for “Halloween Haunt”, for which they not only took on the role of author but also the director. And with this they now provide the complete alternative to their breakthrough, which – in the truest sense of the word – relies on quiet tones. Their battle record, released in this country for ages 18 and up, about a few young adults who inexperiencedly fall into the trap of a few crazy killer clowns disguised as a house of horrors on Halloween night, is loud, dirty and brutal – and hardly surprising for those familiar with the genre. But with a few clever moves, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods ensure some pretty nasty psychological terror. Provided you are receptive to the basic idea that there might be more to a ghost train than a few plastic skeletons jumping in your face.
The haunted house visitors should put their hands in the holes. What will they feel?!?
It’s pretty easy to count out “Haunt” because the premise itself only reveals a very limited breakout from classic genre patterns. The fact that the paper-thin plot (young adults become victims of nihilistic killers in the setting of a horror house) is not exactly bursting with ingenuity cannot be denied, nor is the fact that the makers indulge their preference for predictable jump scares. Especially in the first half they try to squeeze the last bit of shock effect out of the cheap ghost train moves; For example, by simply turning up the soundtrack to the max, even if it’s just an artificial skeleton popping into the picture from the right. Otherwise, the setting of the haunted house, which is not known in this country but is a real hit in the USA at Halloween, seems more decorated than really scary. Creating a little spooky flair with plastic spiders and artificial spider webs might work if you’re actually walking through a haunted house, but as a movie viewer there’s automatically a certain distance that becomes greater the more horror films you’ve seen in your life. And even on a meta level like “I’m just enjoying how a few young people are afraid even in such a cheap setting,” “Haunt” only works to a limited extent, as the camera work and score suggest that there is actually fear here to be stoked, where there is none at all to begin with.
However, that suddenly changes when the haunted house guests notice that something is really wrong here. First the mood changes among the men and women who are initially joking around with each other, then the staging mechanisms that previously seemed so hackneyed suddenly turn out to be far more effective than in the first half. An exciting trick that later makes you think again about whether the impression of cheap fairground horror at the beginning wasn’t very intentional in order to make the height of the fall to harsh psychological terror appear all the greater. Once there is a fatality (the total body count in “Haunt” is 10), the superficial pleasure in being frightening gives way to naked panic; and the killer clowns, who appear with a remarkable physical presence, suddenly fill the set piece of the horror house, which is already predestined for claustrophobic approaches, with naked fear. This not only results from the opulent costumes and equipment with all kinds of cutting and stabbing weapons as well as the scary masks. Above all, it is the pure nihilism (celebrated again and again in close-ups by cameraman Ryan Samul) that the adversaries exercise towards their victims, which establishes the killing mask wearers as really nasty contemporaries, so that sometimes only their slowly approaching silhouette in the background is enough to convince them Watching will get your pulse racing. And since it is made clear from the start that they are not just interested in killing, but also in playing with their victims, the makers immediately absolve themselves of the obvious accusation that some scenes are just for the sake of the visual effect to have turned. The clowns don’t just want to kill, they want to psychologically destroy their victims first.
The fact that you don’t care about the fate of the victims isn’t necessarily because the script establishes them as absolutely likeable people. On the contrary: First of all, they only primarily fulfill their purpose in terms of content and can be assigned quite bluntly to individual characteristics – the joker, the fearful, the tough, we know this well enough from the genre. But unlike many other productions that work according to the “one after the other” principle, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods’s noticeable love for their protagonists shines through. “Haunt” is not completely free of plot-driven developments either, but on the whole the horror here is spared from overly large constructions and occurs in a comprehensible situation. The actors also perform solidly, but sometimes they clearly don’t have fully developed acting experience yet. But even if that weren’t the case, that would hardly have changed a crucial weak point in “Haunt”. What motivated the makers to sacrifice the previously somewhat realistic horror in the finale for a completely exaggerated final punchline can hardly be explained, even with a lot of empathy. That’s a shame, because this is how a film that steadily builds up to the finale ends on a very weak note.
Conclusion: Although the story of bloodthirsty killers who ambush a handful of friends in order to effectively massacre them one by one is riddled with logic gaps and is only partially creative, the combination of practiced nihilism, the claustrophobic confines of the horror house and the not-so-stupid decisions of the main characters ensure that which makes you root for them throughout, for an hour and a half of pure psychological terror.
“Haunt” 2019 can be seen in USA cinemas from October 31st.