Cast : Abigail Breslin, Stephen Mc Hattie, Michelle Nolden, David Hewlett
Writer : Brian King
Director : Vincenzo Natali
Sent straight to VOD with no fanfare, this ghost story had an intriguing concept and trailer in its favor. The ghost of a teenage girl who died in the eighties tries to reach out to a living girl in the present day to save her from the same fate.
Unfortunately the film doesn’t live up to its interesting concept.It is a lackluster effort that lacks the coherency to be an enjoyable mystery and the gore or scares to be a satisfying horror. And so Abigail Breslin portraying the departed Lisa is left to try to emote some fear into the film. Which she valiantly attempts with a slow rolling tear here and a tense tiptoed creep forward there but the performance reads as overwrought as she is given little to play against. The unfolding mystery creates confusion rather than intrigue as Lisa tries to understand why she and her deceased family are trapped in a world of purgatory forced to live the same day repeatedly. By the one hour mark she has come up with few answers and her fruitless investigation begins to wear thin.
The knowledge that is imparted to the viewer is done so heavy handedly. Lisa’s bedroom walls are adorned with posters from David Bowie, Joy Division, The Cure, The Smiths and for good measure she wears a Siouxsie & the Banshees t-shirt. Either she’s a massive Hipster or the filmmakers really want us to know that its the eighties.
Haunter holds moments of interest as Lisa tries to escape the nightmare of purgatory and the film never devolves into complete confusion but it does little to lift itself above T.V Movie fare. On that note Haunter’s greatest weakness of all is that it is more reminiscent of an episode of Are You Afraid Of The Dark or Goosebumps than the horror film it’s trailer purported it to be. With it’s adolescent protagonist and a serial killer whose method of murder is as bloodless and tame as being smothered by kittens, Haunter plays out as a supernatural romp for teenagers that was left on the wrong shelf.
Overall Haunter succeeds as neither a horror or a mystery and is simply a passable but watchable ghost story.
2 out of 5