Today I want to talk to you about the film Haunt.
Haunt isn’t the kind of horror I would normally enjoy as it is a slasher film, I prefer supernatural or psychological horror, yet I still found this film enjoyable so I wanted to talk about it.
Haunt came out in 2019 (remember 2019, before the pandemic, wistful sigh), and recieved mixed and positive reviews. It was written by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, they both also directed it.
The film opens with Harper and Bailey attending a Halloween party together with friends Angela and Mallory, during the party they also add two more to their group, Nathan and Evan. Harper is followed/stalked through the party by a chap in a devil mask.
The group attend a haunted house style attraction, they go in but have to leave mobile phones outside and sign a legal waver. Entering the attraction things almost immediately start to go wrong. The group gets separated and Bailey is the first to be injured, his arm getting cut with a razor, but then Mallory is impaled through the head with a poker.
Understanding the danger they are in the group tries to find an exit, with Nathan finding someone in a ghost mask who offers to help them. Devil Mask is back and kills Angela, while Nathan is dropped into the attractions operation rooms by accident. Nathan manages to save Harper from Devil Mask and find the phones. Ghost Mask kills Evan (guess he wasn’t really helping after all, gasp!).
Nathan manages to call Sam, Harpers boyfriend, for help and get out of the attraction, while Harper kills Devil Mask and Ghost Mask. Ghost Mask is revealed to be Bailey. Sam arrives and is killed immediately by a guy in a clown mask. Nathan goes back inside and is attacked, Harper saves Nathan.
They meet a guy in a vampire mask who explains that they group are being attacked by an extreme body modification cult. Vampire Mask is killed and Harper and Nathan escape the attraction and flee to a hospital. However on entering the hospital they note that some of the paper work, particularly the piece asking for their address is the same as the attractions paperwork.
Clown Mask later arrives at Harpers house but is trapped and killed by Harper.
This is a typical slasher type film with the usual tropes and whatnot, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It’s hardly the first film to use the Halloween ttraction as a setting but it was the first one to use this setting that I watched after going to such an attraction and I have to admit I reacted to it a bit differently having had first hand experience of this kind of thing.
These types of attraction have only come to the UK in recent years, I managed to attend two separate ones before the pandemic basically closed everything. I went to one in a local amusement park and another in an old mine that was open to the public as a history attraction. Both were fun. But I can see why this film uses this as a setting for a genuine attack on these kids.
Horror is a fan of subversion, and these attractions are supposed to be fun, silly, campy, fun. So to take that and turn it on it’s head and make the fake blood real, the fake threat real is a typical horror subversion. But it works differently in this kind of setting because there is an element of fright in this setting already, the kind of fright you feel at an amusement park, you know you should be safe and 99.99% of the time you are but there’s always the 00.01% chance that you might not be. That lends credence to the idea that something like this might really happen.
Overall I rather enjoyed this film, despite it not being my usual thing. I do credit that to my now having had first hand experience of a setting like this myself and would recommend that you all go to such an attraction when it is safe to do so, trust me they are a lot of fun, and also watch this film, it was gory fun.