Our brains have been beaten senseless in the last few years with an abundance of low-budget haunted house movies, with The Conjuring, Insidious Chapter 2, and upcoming Paranormal Activity sequels being the key examples. (Oh, that Jason Blum!) But I’ve been waiting patiently for the release of Haunter, from director Vincenzo Natali, who gave the world Cube and Splice. Starring Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) and genre vet Stephen McHattie (300), Haunter looks like a throwback to simple horrors that paid more attention to the plot than a never-ending series inanimate objects moving around. The above clip, courtesy of Fandango, seems to justify my excitement, as it’s nearly two minutes of dread that feels about ten minutes longer, thanks to some nice editing, a dissonant score, and a suspension of disbelief that no one is saying, “Why is this guy moving so slowly right now?”
In Haunter, Breslin plays Lisa, an eternal teenager who comes to realize her family’s monotonous lifestyle is due to the three of them being ghosts, murdered at the hands of a serial killer who once owned the house they now inhabit. She begins to feel “haunted,” but realizes that she is the one seemingly haunting another young girl living in the house, Olivia (Eleanor Zichy). Together, they have to figure out how to defeat the killer whose own disembodied spirit now haunts the house. It’s a step beyond the usual poltergeist story and has the acting talent to back it up.
Even when McHattie is playing the nicest guy on TV, there’s still a quiet menace to him, and that comes across in full in his role of The Pale Man seen above. He’s kind of like a dirty cop that you want to report, but are scared to since he might just eat your soul. It’s rare for cinematic horror ghosts to appear more human than demonic, so I can’t wait to see what’s inside his bag of evil tricks. Hopefully it isn’t just full of cats leaping out of cabinets on a regular basis, or some other cheap scare.
With a supporting cast that includes Michelle Nolden (Saving Hope), Peter Outerbridge (Nikita), David Hewlitt (Cube) and Sarah Manninen (My Awkward Sexual Adventure), Haunter just might be the sleeper horror hit of the fall, even though it’s saddled with only a limited theatrical run. If nothing else, it could end up following Natali’s other films into cult fandom territory.
Will you guys be watching McHattie terrorize teenage girls when the film releases on October 18? Check out the full trailer below and let us know in the comments.