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Haunt

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Haunt Movie Poster Image
Brutal haunted-house movie lacks characters or fun.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The only real message here is that you should think twice before brazenly walking into a haunted house. Pride and boastfulness are punished. Brings up the theme of abuse in romantic relationships but doesn't really discuss it other than to suggest that it can be passed on. Ends in an act of revenge that's meant to be cheered.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The genre-typical "final girl" here, Harper, shows bravery and cunning and manages to survive.

Violence

Character is tortured with a hot poker to the face; screams. Another character is smashed in face with a hot poker. Pitchfork through character's face. Metal hook through character's lip, tearing her face apart. Characters step and fall on protruding nails. Character's hands stuck in glue, flesh torn off. Fighting, punching, struggling. A man strangles and punches a woman. Character's face smashed with wooden door. Stabbing in eye. Stabbing in neck. Heads and hands smashed. Some guns and shooting; characters shot. Chainsaws. Baseball bats. Fire. A woman has a black eye, presumably from her boyfriend. Booby traps. Spiders (a character has a fear of them). Jump-scares. Digging through bucket of guts. Descriptions/flashbacks of spousal abuse and a husband abusing his wife.

Sex

Sexy Halloween costumes. Flirting.

Language

Extremely strong, frequent language, with tons of uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "motherf----r," "bulls--t," "p---y," "bitch," "sucks d--k," "ass," "jackass," "scrotum," "sweet cheeks," and middle-finger gestures.

Consumerism

Mention of Party City store.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink vodka shots in bar. A character is referred to as an alcoholic.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Haunt is a horror movie about a group of college students who decide to visit an "extreme" haunted house on Halloween. Expect graphic violence and gore: Characters are attacked with hot pokers, pitchforks, protruding nails, flesh-tearing glue, and more. There's also strangling, punching, stabbing, fighting, guns and shooting, and deaths. Discussions and flashbacks deal with abusive relationships (men abusing women). Language is also extremely strong, with frequent uses of "f--k," "s--t," and many other words. Characters drink shots in a bar, and one character is referred to as an alcoholic. The movie recalls the worst parts of 1980s slasher movies, with poorly drawn characters, jump-scares, and an unsettling penchant for violence against women. Katie Stevens stars.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 year old Written byNando1328 September 11, 2019

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In HAUNT, it's Halloween night, and Harper (Katie Stevens) -- who just had a fight with her boyfriend -- is encouraged by her friends to go out for a night of fun. She joins Bailey (Lauryn Alisa McClain), Angela (Shazi Raja), and Mallory (Schuyler Helford) at a bar, where they meet jock Nathan (Will Brittain) and loudmouth Evan (Andrew Caldwell). Afterward, the six decide to go to an "extreme" haunted house for fun. But things turn dark quickly as they see what appears to be a young woman being tortured. When the friends become separated and Mallory disappears, it becomes clear that there's more than just harmless fun going on. But what will it take to escape the sinister attraction?

Is it any good?

The promise of a fun, Halloween-set haunted-house movie is quickly dashed by a batch of weak, thinly drawn characters, poor decisions, and a preoccupation with torture. Haunt is more Saw than scary. Written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods -- who originally wrote the clever, terrifying A Quiet Place -- Haunt has more in common with the cruel, ugly works of its producer, Eli Roth (Hostel, etc.). It tries to be a throwback to 1980s slasher films but succeeds only in copying the bad parts of those movies, with jump-scares and brutality, mainly toward women). Plus, the characters are annoying and don't seem like they'd actually be friends.

Only one, Harper, has any kind of backstory, and it's based in abuse. The others are paper-thin, and the dull, cultlike batch of killers is far less interesting than a single villain would have been. The movie fails to use its Halloween setting for anything fun (unlike the strikingly similar 1980s cult classic Night of the Demons), and even the haunted house set feels chintzy. Ultimately, it's not the house, but the characters' own poor judgment that gets them into trouble. You'd do better to check out the comparable but much better Hell Fest, with its horror-carnival setting and far more interesting characters.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Haunt's violence. Would you consider it gratuitous? Why or why not? What's shown and what's not shown? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of horror movies?

  • What does the movie have to say about the subject of abuse? How can it be dealt with?

  • How is revenge depicted? Is it portrayed as a good thing or a bad thing? Do you agree?

  • How are the movie's female characters treated? What message does that send?

Movie details

For kids who love scares

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