Genre: Horror | Thriller |
Runtime: 92 min
Director: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods
Starring: Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, Lauryn Alisa McClain
On Halloween, a group of friends encounters an “extreme” haunted house that promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realization that some nightmares are real.
A DECENT HORROR FOR HALLOWEEN
I really thought when I started watching this movie that it was the typical sucky cash-grab for the Halloween-season, but I was surprised. I still think that the film maybe was supposed to be that from the start by the studio but they did the “mistake” by hiring good filmmakers, which combined result in this decent horror, which is made by the writers from A Quiet Place (2018).
The story itself feels like Escape Room (2019) but more dramatic and horrifying. While that plot felt very random, this one feels more organized and have a red line. The small details spread over the scenes go together in the end. For example, the protagonist uses the surprising weapon from the beginning to defeat the antagonist.
In this killer-maze-stories we as the viewers typically don’t see the masterminds behind it, they are mostly too clever and powerful to get caught when the hero defeats their plan. Here we get to see them two-thirds in and it’s terrifying. They are a cult-like-group of what seems like crazy murderers who love body modifications – with cuts, holes, and piercings all over their faces. Not the antagonists you expected – but it makes all the sense when you see the overall picture. The only thing about the story I don’t like is it’s trying to give our main protagonist Harper a backstory about her abusive father while being trapped. The filmmakers try to combine her overcoming the house with her desire to move on from her past – which doesn’t work. This only distracts us because most of the plot plays out in the house. Basically, the main characters go from a school-party to the haunted house, and we don’t see more than that. I would keep Harper’s backstory but the directors should have established it earlier, maybe have us follow her and the others, a few days before the party, and use that time to set up all the characters.
I really like the actors, their job is not revolutionary, but still good. I think the only thing keeping them back is the script, maybe one more rewrite or two would loosen up the dialogues and give them more space to play with. I like the main actress because we follow her more and she has more time to develop and show her acting-skills.
The production overall was decent, but as I mentioned at the start, the film has a little bit of cash-grab elements so there are rooms for improvements. They can keep the redline in the script and just establish more of the characters and scenery, so we get what feels like real people and a distinct world, then the horror would hit us more. But I still recommend it, especially for a night home during Halloween.
Richard Bengtsson | Journalist.