Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Director - Andrew C. Erin (Sam's Lake, Toxic Skies)
Starring - Julie Benz (Dexter, Supernatural), Belle Shouse (A Million Ways to Die in the West, Journey to the East), and Josh Stamberg (Justified, Six Feet Under)
Release Date - 2016
Genre - Horror
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     These last few weeks has been crazy for me.  As most of you may have noticed by this point, I use my reviews as a type of journal or personal blog.  Back at the end of December my father was sent to the hospital where they were unable to treat him so they sent him to a nursing home to be comfortable.  This hit me hard and my reviews were limited due to having to drive such a distance to see him plus working 50 hours a week and taking classes.  I found out last week that my mother, who left in 1994 when I was 8, was dying of lung cancer.  I tried to visit with her but she refused to see me.  This, once again, put a hit on my reviews.  One movie on my list to check out was the new horror thriller Havenhurst.  This one looked fun but life had me push it to the side until I could actually make time for it.  I'm glad I was able to actually check it out because it was one fun film.
     The film follows recovering alcoholic Jackie (Julie Benz).  She moves into an apartment building with a peculiar past and was once inhabited by her friend Danielle (Danielle Harris) who is now missing.  The apartment requires no down payment of month up front but does require that the tenant not lapse on their sobriety.  If they cave to their addictions they are immediately evicted.  When Jackie witnesses others fall off the wagon and come up missing she soon suspects more is at play in the building than the landlord lets on.  She starts investigating the building and learns that it has a connection to infamous serial killer H.H. Holmes.

     I had no idea what to expect from Havenhurst.  Was it a supernatural thriller?  Was it a psychological thriller?  Or would it be something that completely reinvents the genre?  All of those were way off.  Havenhurst is a slow burning horror film that once it gets going it hits hard and refuses to let up.  The acting in this one is solid.  No one is better than the other which makes for a consistent film but some characters stand out more than others which does throw the story off.  Movies like this need a strong character to grab hold to regardless of gender.  There has been countless horror films before Havenhurst that followed strong women that do show signs of weakness but you know they are strong enough to make it through the toughest of obstacles.  Havenhurst did not have that.  Due to the writing and Julie Benz's acting you feel sorry for her and expect to see her die.  This makes for a mostly boring experience.  The story for this one moves at a snails pace before exploding.  Once you get to the meat of the story you start to appreciate what they were attempting to do.  Sadly, the effect is watered down with the pacing of the film and how it is set up to resemble a thriller and not a straight forward horror film.  If the writing team and crew were more direct with the story and delivered a straight forward horror film then we would have contended for best horror film in the last 20 years.  But they don't so we don't.  Finally, the film has several kill scenes that are bloody and brilliant but they are few and far in between.  The few kills we do get are very imaginative and deliver some nice bloodshed while giving us one amazing scene of gore but for a film handling the story it does one would expect a lot more carnage.  Overall, Havenhurst is a solid horror movie experience but has all the workings to be a modern classic.  Sadly, they are unable to get all their ducks in a row and give horror fans what they want.  

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