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Haunted house movies have become such a regular part of the movie release slate recently that you might feel exhausted by them. Maybe you think you’ve seen it all by now. Well, hold that thought, because you haven’t yet seen horror auteur Vincenzo Natali’s take on haunted house. The trailer above, tipped by The Playlist, is for Natali’s Haunter. Okay, the title is a snooze, but this creepy feature boasts ghosts, a mystery, a serial killer, and something deeply twisted.
Written by Brian King, Haunter stars Abigail Breslin as Lisa, a teen girl desperately bored of her family’s mind-numbing routine. But then she realizes they are not the only ones living in their home—well, living might not be the right word. The house is haunted by a string of girls all murdered over the years by a methodical serial killer. Now Lisa must join forces with them to stop this evil man before he can kill again.
I’ll be honest, there are parts of the trailer that are downright confusing. But as familiar with Natali’s movies as I am, I’d expect nothing less. His complicated plots don’t tend to fare well in trailers. The Detroit-born helmer made his feature directorial debut with the low-budget Canadian horror-thriller Cube. It’s the kind of movie you channel surf into on a lazy Saturday and then can’t turn away from (I speak from experience). The thriller follows seven strangers all trapped in a shifting prison where escape is next to impossible, and death could meet you at every open cell door. It was a mind-bending movie that was both scary and disturbing. So it understandably sparked a fandom among horror fans for Natali.
He followed Cube up with the critically cheered sci-fi thriller Cypher in 2002. Then a comedy called Nothing came and went before Natali returned to form with the deeply deranged science-gone-wrong feature Splice in 2009. The sci-fi horror-thriller starred Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as two geneticists who splice human DNA with animal DNA to create a dangerous new hybrid. While Splice became Natali’s most well received effort among critics, the $30 million movie proved a flop at the box office earning only $26 million. This financial failure seemed a dark omen for Natali’s future, but thankfully this imaginative filmmaker has scared up funds for a whole new feature.
Further stoking my enthusiasm for Haunter is Breslin in the lead role. Earlier this year, I admittedly rolled my eyes when I saw she was playing a teen tormented by a would-be serial killer in the Halle Berry vehicle The Call. But that was before I actually saw the movie and loved it for all its dedicated mayhem and go-for-broke gory gusto! Sure, she was Little Miss Sunshine, but now she’s grown up and gearing for the title of Scream Queen. Does she deserve the crown? We’ll find out when Haunter opens on October 18th.