Haunter (2013) – Review

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Imagine what it would be like to live in a recurring dream, one that never goes away.


Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
Screenplay by: Matthew Brian King
Starring: Abigail Breslin, Samantha Weinstein, Stephen McHattie

Haunter takes you into this Groundhogs Day-esque existence, telling the story of a girl who realizes the dream might be a nightmare from which she may never wake up.

Lisa (played by Abigail Breslin – Signs, Zombieland) leads us through a mind-bending tale of life in limbo. Stuck in a fog with no exit in sight, she is forced to do everything in her power to help herself and her unfortunate family. She travels through the looking glass and, through the eyes of the past, unravels the mysteries surrounding her present situation. Lisa is challenged to either remain in her suspended existence or pay the ultimate price. Can she help bring her family out from under the wool and into the light? Or is her life-less-ordinary fit to be on replay for all eternity?

“If you listen very carefully, you’d hear the duck quacking inside the wolf’s belly, because the wolf, in his hurry, had swallowed her alive.” – Peter and the Wolf

Alright, so I’ve seen a lot of ‘haunting’ movies in my time and I am always looking for a different take, but Haunter didn’t quite do it for me. I am on the fence for several reasons. One, the general premise reminded me a lot of The Others (Nicole Kidman) in which a family is stuck in a house, and in time, without knowledge of why. When I start recognizing a film for another film that it isn’t, I find it hard to get past the similarities and view it for its individuality. Two, some of the computer generated imagery (CGI) was poorly executed. There wasn’t a lot of it, but when it was used, better attention could have been paid to the details. In my opinion, if there isn’t a budget for great CGI, don’t use it.

The uniqueness of the overall look and feel pull me to the other side of the fence. Also, it was like a slumber party for dead girls, staying up late watching Murder She Wrote, eating Mac and Cheese. The ambiance and other-worldliness make for an escapist experience where you feel like you, too, are trapped there. Our daily lives are full of monotonous routines, so small and many, that we hardly notice as days pass. But take one day, your worst day, and play it back in your mind. I could hardly imagine that day as my broken record. If anything, Haunter made me thankful for life’s hiccups. The obstacles that remind us that we are alive and that tomorrow is a new day.

Lastly, I can’t say that Breslin blew this role out of the water, but she gave it a valiant effort. I appreciate that she and other young actresses/actors are pushing to make a bigger name for themselves (much like Chloe Grace Moretz). After all they are our future of film.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 10



Haunter is available through Amazon Instant Video for rental here.

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