Tales of the Rampant Coyote

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Halloween Film Impressions: Haunter

Posted by Rampant Coyote on October 12, 2015

We’ve been so swamped so far this month that even taking time to watch a film together has been a challenge. Typically we end up watching something on Netflix Instant Play, which is pretty decent for watching TV (a season behind), but not so great for movies. Too many of the films available for streaming are good for Mystery Science Theater 3000 fodder (back when it was airing) and little else.  (At least they do have some MST-3K episodes…)

But there are some gems. This weekend we caught an indie film called Haunter starring Abigail Breslin that we really enjoyed.  Be warned, however… if you are expecting major scares and Halloween frights, this isn’t the film. It’s more like a supernatural thriller. It’s non-rated, but would probably warrant a PG-13 rating here in the U.S.

The trailer definitely makes it look like more of a scary thrill ride than it really is. It is absolutely a ghost story. It starts out with some bizarre circumstances right our of Groundhog Day and Twilight Zone episodes, and quickly moves on to some revelations that would have been part of the shocking climax at the end of some movies. But in Haunter, this is only the start of bigger things. You’ve got a supernatural villain capable of doing awful things to both the living and the dead, and he’s looking to claim his next victims.

It’s not perfect. One of my pet peeves in stories like this is that I feel the world-building and rules need to feel consistent. The big sin for me is to have creepy things happen which still don’t make sense when the credits roll. It feels like they were pasted on just to make the film creepier but had no business being there. That, or the explanation was left on the cutting-room floor. This one is better than many low-budget ghost flicks, and doesn’t fail this test very often, but there were a couple of situations where I thought at the end of the film, “Hey, which entity in the house was responsible for this, and why?” or “What triggered this thing happening?” The rules don’t have to be spelled out – in fact, it’s better if they remain a little mysterious – but they should feel consistent.

There other issues, too, but they didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment of the film. Overall, it’s a good creepy ghost story and a slow-burning good vs. evil thriller.


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