Thursday, March 20, 2014

Don't call it a flashback!

HAUNT (2013)

K. So no opening rant... no crazy leap in the endless mental chaos that is my movie loving head. I am simply going to open with your story.

The plot is a family moves into a house that is haunted.

There you go.
Do you really need more? Fine. So there is also a cute girl that lives next door that has an abusive Father. The new boy falls for her, and she is bond and determined to use this special radio to talk to the dead, angry spirits of the house.

There, damn  it that is all you need.
House. Evil spirit. New unsuspecting family that got a real deal on the new house (I wonder why?). So first I want to say this movie is not as bad and beenderedonethat as you may think. The acting is actually a step above par. A stand out being Liana Liberato. After her turns in Stuck in Love and Trust this young actress is really proving to me that she is a talent to be aware of. Hopefully she finds her way into some A material soon. Really though, all the acting is above par here, though a lot of the credit for that goes to the script.

No joke. He literally rolls over to find this chick in his bed. Teenage hormone overload.
Deep breath - Raise my arms in triumph. FINALLY! Parents, and kids that do not act like freaking idiots. Parents that listen to their children. Children who break down the crazy things happening rationally. For instance... Teen Boy and Teen girl speak to a spirit, then freak out. Instead of losing their heads they sit down and rationally discuss what it means. Then after they rationally discuss what has happen to older sister of Teen boy.

I mean it was so refreshing I actually smiled. The interaction between to the two teen leads is cute, and just weird enough to be strangely real. In the way young love can be.

All that said, any good will build up from the terrific writing (though the twist as to what happened... well if you are like me, you'll figure it out pretty quick) is completely ruined in the final act. The ending is so cold, and brutal, and such nonsense... that you will wonder if it was actually part of the same film you were watching. I mean really. Just plain stupid. No real explanation. And the explanation they provide completely contradicts the actual events of the ending.

And then.... in the morning... 
And then.... in the morning... But... it gets worse. There seems to be a real disconnect with the director. Now, being a lower budget film there may have been some financial restraints... maybe. This director seems bound in determined to use the same shit flashback technique through the entire film. Even double flash backing in the opening 5 minutes. 

What's that audience you forgot I showed you that guy died in this house... when I clearly showed you it just a few minutes ago? Well hell, here, let me layer it over the present day as the family goes through the house. 

I mean. Even 23 beers deep my short term memory is at least 7 minutes. The other major flaw in he direction is the insane transitions between some truly creepy moments and horrible jumpscares. I mean how do you go from a slow door opening reveal, to throwing a kid out in front of a camera two minutes later?

It's sad because there was some real dread here but the director just wants to show you how cool he is by using every trick he's ever seen instead of relying on the validity of his own voice. I mean it feels like 3 people directed this flick. You know what let me check that... (IMDB break)...

-Jeopardy them-

Nope just one - Mac Carter. Mac. You could have an amazing horror career. Work on your flash back technique and trust your slow burn. The scene in the bed was amazing... also A final note from Ol'Boony to you... never be afraid to let your writer know the ending needs work... A lot.

Movie Scale 2 out of 5 stars
Horror scale 2.5 out of 5 stars

Hey, you know what, some real promise here. Some great young talent. Dammit though, another close but no cigar scenario. The flashbacks really are that bad. Colors and light effects, just annoying. The ending too... tried to be all hardcore and surprising, and it is. But it just doesn't fit the movie at all. I mean is a good ending just that bad? Isn't the real twist ending wrapping things up in a feel good fashion? Haven't we had enough crappy feeling endings?

Sigh. But hey. It's cool to jerk your audience time and time again I guess...

Anyway. Still waiting for horror to step the hell up here. I mean The conjuring was great, but what else lately. Really? What was the last great horror film you saw? That you didn't have to add - well, accept the ending (shout out Sinister F you for almost being freaking great!)

I'm out.


-Chuck B Boonsweet.

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