MOVIES YOU WATCH BECAUSE OF WHO'S IN THEM AND ARE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED 'CAUSE YOU THOUGHT THE MOVIE WOULD SUCK
Haunter (2013) Canadian
Lord save me from any more haunting or paranormal movies. Teenagers, fights, dark scenes where you see zip, handheld cameras, tears, snot, death, end. Over and over. Oh and don't forget those abandoned mental asylums. Those are very important you know. I would have passed this right over without a second glance if it hadn't been for the presence of Abigail Breslin (Zombieland) and Stephen McHattie (Pontypool) so I thought eh, what's one more for the pile?
Well for one thing this is actually a story. I mean an INTERESTING story. It starts a bit like 'oh brother' but you get caught up in it and actually care what happens to the characters. And it takes the typical haunting story and kind of stands it on its head. In fact, since this blog is about complaining about bad movies, I'll just outline this one 'cause it's actually worth seeing.
Lisa (Abigail Breslin) is a very depressed 15 year old. She's in a serious rut. Every day it's the same thing - her little brother bugs her, she has to do the laundry and is accused of losing part of it, her mom and dad ask her what she wants for her birthday tomorrow, her dad is frustrated, having spent the whole day trying to fix the car, they have macaroni and cheese for dinner, they watch Murder She Wrote, and before bed she plays her clarinet along to Peter And The Wolf. This literally happens every single day. No this isn't a Groundhog Day rip off - they actually are stuck doing the exact same things EVERY DAY as they did in 1985.
Um what? That's right - every single day is the same day in 1985, one day before Lisa's birthday, the same laundry being done (and disappearing later) the same TV being watched just as it was the day they died. Ohhh, they're DEAD. Only Lisa is 'awake' in that she knows they're dead although her family is not aware and get very upset when she tries to break the routine to tell them about it. So it seems she will be stuck in this very depressing day for eternity. Until she hears a strange noise. Is SHE being haunted?
The key to 'waking up' (at least according to this movie) is contact with an object you owned in life and a girl now living in their house has found Lisa's necklace and so both are now aware of the other. And they know (Lisa by finding a scrapbook, the live girl by computer) that a man who lived in the house had not only taken and killed teenage girls, but after his death, whole families by (and I'm guessing, the movie wasn't real specific) 'possessing' the father and convincing him to kill his entire family.
The pale man (Stephen McHattie) kept trophies as well as a scrapbook and now Lisa has both - but how to use it to not only prevent the murder of the live girl's family, but get justice for all of the past victims?
Of course this movie has plot holes (it's not great, just better than most) like how could she manipulate objects in the house not part of the daily limbo they're in, but others can't? Why was she awake in the first place? How is she manipulating objects without the present owners noticing?
Things quickly get interesting as her sleuthing brings gradual changes to her family's routine and she realizes they are beginning to 'wake up', but also that her father, who had killed them all while under the influence of 'the pale man' in 1985, is getting worse and worse just as he did before - which means the family alive in the house has a limited amount of time as their husband/father is getting worse and worse...
How will the two girls, one dead and one alive, manage to overcome the pale man? They will need the help of the other girls still in the house and how they do it is not only interesting, but inventive. And yes, this movie has a happy ending (as one could be for a dead family) - no trick endings, no twists.
Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.