The Haunt Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"
I breathed a sigh of relief when I found out during my viewing of THE HAUNT that it was polar opposite of what I thought it was going to turn out to be! When most horror films that deal with a haunting of some kind or any sort of supernatural phenomenon, they will mainly focus on the fact that all these spooky and scary things happen to those who are experiencing the haunting. It's rarely focuses on the humanity of it; it becomes a spook-fest. The Haunt is completely different in that though the film feels supernatural, and it certainly contains elements of it, it's far more grounded as a psychological horror as it explores and tests the sanity of our main character Maggie, played captivatingly well by Katherine Stefanski! Maggie has been released into a program after a horrific and tragic incident she was involved in that she still grapples with the guilt of her dark past, she also trying to recover and endure drug sobriety. Mentally she is unwell and tries desperately to hang on to her sanity as she experiences bouts of visual and auditory hallucinations, loneliness, depression, and insomnia. She is required to take medication and have frequent visitations to the apartment she lives in alone to make sure she's ok. However she cannot escape being haunted by a ghost of a man with a plastic bag over his head. The very first thing I noticed as I watched Katherine in her scenes is how much she reminded me of a young Jennifer Connelly! Beautiful, quiet, stoic, able to express a lot with just a look, the slight tilt of her head or the raise of an eyebrow. Then, as I continued to watch the film it quickly became crystal clear to me that her acting chops therein the film were entrancing and prominent when it came time for her to really sink her teeth into a heavier performance in a scene. There was one scene where Maggie finally has the guts to call her mother and talk to her after everything that happened in the past, and I have to say it was truly heartbreaking, and without a doubt a scene (from any film that I've ever seen) that will forever stick with me. Don't get me wrong, The Haunt has it moments of sprinkled in horror and suspense and even some jump scares. But getting to the root of the humanity within the story and putting all the pieces of this puzzle together until the end was a delicious treat, one that I relished in savoring the flavor of. The tonality of the picture is inherently chilling that carries with it some impressive camera work, editing, and visual effects. The music was put together so well that I didn't ever notice when there was a shift from moody, to terrifying, to emotional until after I saw the picture! The performances were tremendously satisfying to watch from beginning to end, and writer/director David Paul Scott really crafted a special, emotional ghost story unlike anything that I had seen before. Keep your eyes peeled for this gem. What I loved above all else was how well the story tackled and exposed the subject matter of mental illness, and ingrained that within this story, and I believe that to be where the humanity really shines.
Writer/Director: David Paul Scott
Starring: Katherine Stefanski, Astrida Auza, Carrie Evaristo, Cynthia Stone, Wesley Wakelin, Shay Galor, Rhonda Causton, Stephen Simonds, Jen Yarrow, Damian Romeo, Julie Hauber
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 1 hr 36 mins
How It Can Be Seen: Coming Soon