Currently streaming on Netflix is one of the more clever horror movies from IFC Midnight, Haunter. It’s difficult to put an original spin on horror movies centered on ghosts or hauntings, but this gem on Netflix did just that. Directed by Vincenzo Natali (Splice), Haunter stars Abigail Breslin (Ender’s Game), Peter Outerbridge (Shut In), Eleanor Zichy (Guidance), Stephen McHattie (Mother!), Peter DaCunha (XX), and Michelle Nolden (A Christmas Horror Story).
Genre fans should recognize the film’s star, Abigail Breslin, from a multitude of horror movies including Final Girl (also on Netflix), Fear, Inc., Maggie, and the horror-comedy Zombieland. If you enjoyed her sarcastic wit and fiery attitude in those movies, then you should thoroughly enjoy her character in Haunter. Breslin portrays Lisa, a 15-year-old who is one day shy of turning 16. The problem? Lisa is stuck in a time loop and keeps repeating the same day, and it seems an evil spirit, known as The Pale Man, is the cause of it all.
The less you know about this movie going into it the better. The synopsis listed on Netflix (among other sites), as well as some of the trailers, gives away a major plot twist to the story (even iMDB lists the storyline as a spoiler). But even if you haven’t been able to successfully avoid the spoiler, it’s still well worth the watch.
The film’s beginning credits has some really cool and creepy imagery involving mason jars containing what appears to be human souls. From there, the movie wastes no time getting to the crux of the story. We watch Lisa wake up the day before her birthday, and she immediately looks annoyed. Set to the score of Peter and the Wolf, we watch Lisa deal with her family as she relives the same monotonous day over and over again (which includes watching the same episode of Murder, She Wrote, and eating the same dinner). Eventually, Lisa meets The Pale Man and must figure out a way to defeat him if she wants to escape her time-loop nightmare.
Haunter cleverly blends the genres of horror and drama with a decent amount of humor and moves along at a very nice pace. Unlike many horror movies made in the same vein, Haunter avoids the use of gore. Instead, the film relies on genuine suspense to entice fear and does so successfully. Per her usual, Breslin charms the screen and the entire cast gives solid performances.
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With a unique premise, a clever plot twist, and overall good performances, Haunter is one of the best horror movies on Netflix.
[Featured Image by IFC Midnight]