Haunter and Housebound are currently available on instant Netflix
Haunter (2013) – Not Rated
“Putting a new spin on spooky, the haunted soul in this film — 15-year-old Lisa — is long dead, and the ghost she senses is a flesh-and-blood teen.”
I am not a big fan of the haunted subgenre of horror. I love The Changeling growing up and have enjoyed more modern fare such as The Sixth Sense and The Others but it seemed to me that the subgenre was worn out.
I really enjoyed writer/director Vincenzo Natali’s Cube (1997) but the sequels missed why Cube worked. Cube used an imaginative science fiction setting to examine psychological and social archetypes. Parts of it were amateurish and flawed but, on the whole, it really worked for me. Sadly, the sequels just took the science fiction setting and jettisoned the rest.
In Haunter, Natali directs from a script written by Brian King and their collaboration bears remarkable fruit. This. This is the reason I sit through so much dreck. Haunter is one of the gems amidst all that coal.
The movie description appears to be a spoiler but it is revealed very early on that Lisa understands that she is dead because all of the particulars of each day are exactly the same a la Groundhog’s Day. The story takes many twists and turns from there and I am loathe to spoil them.
Performances are just fine across the board with two standouts. Oscar-nominee Abigail Breslin is perfectly cast and riveting as Lisa. Her turn anchors the whole film. The always delightful Stephen McHattie is, of course, delightful as the Pale Man.
If you need a good supernatural film, see Haunter.
Housebound (2014) – Not Rated
“A troubled young woman is convicted of petty crimes and placed under house arrest in the home of her strange family and a bunch of evil spirits.”
“But anyone who says there’s no such thing as a bad egg obviously hasn’t worked in social services.”
Housebound has some good moments, most involving a very creepy stuffed animal. It has a nice, intricate overall plot. There is a nice sense of humor that pops up at odd intervals.
Unfortunately it is very difficult to sit through as the protagonist is not just unlikable but is thoroughly repugnant. It is not a matter of not caring for her, she is so awful that you actively wish she would die. This makes the first act almost unbearable.
If you can get past that, the rest of the movie is actually quite good. Housebound is a very funny horror comedy but it requires quite a bit of work. While the first act is the worst, Kylie remains unlikable throughout.