I've been a fan of director Vincenzo Natali's for more than a decade now. After watching his film 'Cube' in 1997, I knew I wanted to follow whatever he made in the future. And with 'Splice', he created a monster movie with his own vision, using his unique style and way of story-telling, which is not necessarily showing a gruesome and action-packed horror film, but rather showing a group of characters who discover their own fatal flaws within a confined space.
That same way of storytelling is applied to his most recent horror film, 'Haunter', which plays out a little like 'The Others', 'A Nightmare on Elm Street', and 'Groundhog Day'. I know that's a interesting combination, but Natali and his writing partner, Brian King tell the story without any inconsistencies.
'Haunter' is told through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Lisa (Abigail Breslin), who lives with her parents and younger brother in a nice house in the year 1986. Lisa starts to notice something isn't right with her family, as she begins to notice very strange things. Particularly, that she and her family are reliving the same exact day over and over. Ronald Reagan is giving the same speech on television, her mother makes the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and Lisa is told to do the exact same chores and things each day.
However, her parents and little brother do not know they are reliving the same day, and when Lisa confronts them about it, her parents tell her she is just suffering from teen angst. As a little time goes on, Lisa begins to notice strange sounds, and creepy apparitions throughout the house. In addition to that, whenever she looks outside a window, she can only see fog, and she comes to a realization that she and her parents are in fact dead, hence her birthday never comes, as it was supposed to be the day after the current day the are reliving.
But this family is not alone, as there is a very evil presence among them who is known as The Pale Man (Stephen McHattie). This Pale Man seems to have possessed and killed Lisa and her family as well as each family who has lived there in the past and who will come to live in the house in the future. Lisa meets the different teenage daughters through time who were murdered by this evil force, and she is tasked to destroy the evil entity once and for all.
Like most of Natali's films, there isn't much in the way of gore. Instead we see the struggles and of this teenage girl and her family coming to terms with their own death, and how the deal with this news. Natali also uses a lot of very creepy imagery, similar to most of the Asian horror movies we've seen in recent years with scary apparitions appearing in hallways or mirrors. If you like your horror movies to build incredible tension and suspense over the course of a movie, with some real disturbing images, then by all means, check 'Haunter' out. You won't be disappointed.
'Haunter' comes with a great 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The detail is always sharp and vivid with well-defined closeups of the actor's faces that show individual hairs, makeup effects, and scars. The textures in the costumes also reveal individual stitching, which is always nice.
The colors are somewhat odd here, as Natali switches color palettes through the different time periods as well as converted the entire image to look like you're in a dream state or a fairy tale. So don't expect the most natural looking skin tones here, but it gives a frightening and creepy aspect to the characters as there seems to be something off about them. The black levels run deep and inky and there are no video flaws or compression issues to speak of. This is a solid video presentation for it being a small indie horror film.
This release has an amazing lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix as well as an LPCM 2.0 stereo mix, and it gives your speaker system quite the fun workout. I wish all horror movies, especially the paranormal ones sounded this good. The dialogue is always crystal clear and is easy to understand, free of any pops, cracks, and hissing.
There is some great directionality here as well. The sound effects and ambient noises are very robust and bold. Each creak, flash, growl, and ghostly sound, pours from the surrounds with ferocity and loudness. The LFE is excellent with a very wide dynamic range. The bass rumbles often and will rattle your walls, so be prepared. This audio presentation is what all horror movies should sound like.
'Haunter' is a fun and very creepy horror film from the director of 'Cube'. The acting is very good with some truly disturbing images. Once again, Natali has proved he is still one of the original names in the horror genre. The video and audio are top notch here, and a few of the extras are worth looking at. If you're a fan of creepy horror movies, then definitely purchase this one. You won't soon forget it.