December 9, 2015

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"Its only real strengths come from Australia’s own Jacki Weaver..."


John Noonan
Year: 2014
Rating: MA15+
Director: Mac Carter

Harrison Gilbertson, Jacki Weaver, Liana Liberato

Distributor: Eagle
Released: December 9, 2015
Running Time: 82 minutes
Worth: $6.00

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Its only real strengths come from Australia’s own Jacki Weaver…

Moving into a spooky house with a terrible history, the Asher family comes under attack from numerous things that bump in the night. For all intents and purposes, this is as much the plot to The Conjuring as it is Haunt. However, this film from documentary maker Mac Carter isn’t just reminiscent of one particular haunted house movie. It can easily be identified as the summary and conclusion to an entire essay about the haunted house genre in the last ten years. Its derivative nature is such that it almost acts as a way of highlighting the faults with films such as The Haunting in Connecticut, Annabelle and Insidious.

When middle child, Evan (Harrison Gilbertson) meets his abused neighbor Sam (Liana Liberato), the two form an instant sexual bond that results in Evan agreeing to summon up the ghosts of his new home via a pimped up radio. Nothing good ever came of a post-coital séance and things soon escalate.

The film unpacks the usual showbag of goosebump riddled scares including Evan’s youngest sister talking to an imaginary friend, bloodied corpses and numerous slam cuts of ghosts set against the soundtrack of a crashing piano. These are such familiar tropes that it verges on parody.

Its only real strengths come from Australia’s own Jacki Weaver, who pops up occasionally as the previous owner of the horror house who is clearly in need of some therapy and a hug. Weaver can play these parts in her sleep, and it’s a shame that she isn’t in it more. In addition, Haunt manages, in its last few minutes, to pull a rather nasty little twist that pulls the rug from under its audience. Brutal and violent, it becomes obvious in hindsight how much this film needed less replication and a bit more bite.

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