From time to time, there are horror flicks that garner a lot of attention. They are touted as being “the best” or some other overly exaggerated term that disregards all of the other “best” movies that came before. I generally get pretty frustrated with these because, more often than not, I do not agree with those powerful opinions. One of the latest making a commotion amongst fans is Haunt, directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. Guys, this movie might just be… wait for it… the best!
It’s Halloween and after ditching a party, a group of friends decide to end the night with a quick trip through a haunted house. Their fun quickly turns to terror as they come to the realization that the extreme acts being performed before them are in fact very real.
As I’ve already stated, I generally do my best to stay far away from any movie that makes a ton of noise with audiences so quickly. For whatever reason, this time was a bit different. Almost on a last minute whim, I decided to throw on Haunt and, man, am I extremely happy that I did!
Expecting just another haunted house/maze or escape room type of film, I really had very low hopes for this one. We are immediately introduced to some of our young, attractive cast members, so I instantly think of all of the other stereotypical horror flicks out there with similar casting choices.
To my delight, the acting is all around much better than I first anticipated after meeting some of the characters who were to be main elements of the film.
All new faces to me, Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, Lauryn Alisa McClain, Andrew Caldwell, and a few more who round out the group of fun-seeking friends all do a very impressive job throughout. Their typical 2019 behavior of looking up Yelp reviews and using a ride share service quickly becomes an afterthought once they start to fall victim to the monsters lurking in the haunted house.
If the performances by these beautiful people-in-peril wasn’t enough, those of our antagonists ramp things up even more. As a viewer, you are lead to believe that the masked men and women seen throughout the haunted attraction are just actors, some who just happened to get a little out of hand with their scares. No, these guys are so much more than that. They are actually quite menacing and a real cause for fright… and that’s before they take their masks off.
Haunt delivers some fantastic kill scenes, one more frighteningly exhilarating than the last. Sharp objects impaled through skulls, ripped off faces, and quite a few more methods of death all look incredibly real, thanks to a mix of what seems to be both practical and digital effects, with an extremely heavy emphasis on the practical. I was giddy like a small child on Christmas morning after witnessing some of the carnage unfolding before my very wide eyes.
Written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, the writers who also scripted another fantastic film in 2018’s A Quiet Place, Haunt is chock full of surprises. I don’t mean that there is a surprise, twist ending. No, I mean that at around the 40 minute mark, you better prepare yourself for some jaw dropping stuff. At least for me, a lot of what occurs was completely unpredictable and very welcoming in a genre that can get very stale very quickly.
If you are truly looking for the next great horror movie, you need to do yourself a favor and check out Haunt. The film features a talented young cast, a script full of a good deal of characterization without throwing in too many boring details, and beautifully gory kills.
I did not plan on writing a review for Haunt, but after enjoying the hell out of it, I couldn’t keep my thoughts to myself. The real deciding factor though was hearing an incredible cover of Rob Zombie’s “Dragula” playing during the film’s end credits.
If you read my reviews and only ever watch one movie that I recommend, let it be this one. I know I’ve hyped it up quite a bit, but I have all the faith in the world that it will live up to what I’ve built it to be and maybe even more.
Haunt gets a final repulsive rating of 4.5 shotguns go the weasel out of 5 from yours truly.