streaming horror haunt

Welcome to 31 Days of Streaming Horror. Every day this October, we’ll be highlighting a different streaming horror movie to help you get into the Halloween spirit. Today’s entry: Haunt (2019).

Haunt
Now Streaming on Shudder

Sub-Genre: Halloween Haunted House Horror

Best Setting to Watch It In: In a very remote Halloween haunt while wearing a plastic mask

How Scary Is It?: The scares here are more gore-based than psychological, so if that’s your jam, you’re in luck!

The “Halloween haunt that turns out to be really haunted and/or deadly!” concept is on the verge of becoming its own subgenre. We have the Hell House LLC films. We have The Houses that October Built. And now we have Haunt. To be clear: there are no ghosts in Haunt. But there’s plenty of danger. The film concerns a group of college kids who decide to head off to an extremely remote haunt on Halloween night. Among these friends is our heroine, Harper (Katie Stevens), who comes from an abusive family and has just gotten out of an abusive relationship.

The haunted house Harper and her pals go to looks incredibly corny and cheap at first, but the further they go, the more it begins to seem like they’re actually in danger. Because they are. The people running this haunt are crazed killers, and they’ve devised elaborate death-traps for any poor schmuck that happens to come calling on Halloween. What follows is a series of gruesome moments in which Harper’s friends are brutally dispatched while Harper, being our final girl, fights for survival.

Haunt was written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, the duo that wrote A Quiet Place. This movie isn’t as tight and precise as their previous effort, but it’s still loaded with clever ideas and some genuine jolts. It also takes the time to make (most) of its cast likable. Far too often, movies like this are overloaded with annoying characters we can’t wait to see get bumped-off. Here, we care about these unlucky youths and aren’t in a hurry to watch them be brutally slaughtered. Which makes their eventual slaughter all the more effective.

Best of all: there’s a great Halloween atmosphere blanketing the movie. Very few films set on or around Halloween manage to capture that Halloween vibe. That almost indescribable feeling of crisp autumn nights, where there’s a whiff of something burning far off on the chilly air, and the potential for horror is lurking in the darkness. Whatever Haunt lacks in plotting it more than makes up for in mood. It’s the perfect movie to put you in the Halloween spirit as the big day draws near.

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