Review – Haunter (2013)

Time Loop Review #09

Type of Time Loop: 24 Hours.

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As I mentioned before, time loop movies often return to the land of horror, so fans of Happy Death Day, you may be pleasantly surprised…its not that new, but the way these movies deal with time loops does differ from time to time, and the way it is dealt with here is also different, as it is a tad more supernatural than it would normally be.

Haunter is another film that takes the common concept and deals with it from an entirely different kind of perspective. This perspective is a bit of a spoiler, but at the same time, not really that hard to guess. Regardless of the spoiler, knowing the “twist” does not change the effectiveness of the tone or mystery of the film overall, which is actually a pretty good thing. The main issue of the film actually comes down to the visuals, which are noticeably cheaper than what you may expect from other films like it; not that they are terrible differences, just notably worse in a certain light.

A teenager is stuck in a time loop that is not quite the same each time. She must uncover the truth but her actions have consequences for herself and others.

PEOPLE – 12/20 (60%)

Acting – 2/4 | Characters – 3/4 | Casting – 2/4 | Importance – 3/4 | Chemistry – 2/4

Sometimes, when you have movies with a very small cast, you don’t have as much of a possibility to have things getting watered down so thing. When things aren’t watered thin, the film has a greater chance at being remarkable as far as the characters are considered…if they do everything right. They don’t exactly do everything right in Haunter. While the Pale Man is a somewhat memorable character, he gets lost somewhere among everyone else because nothing really stands out that much in this category. Technicalities get in the way at times, and the fact that these people aren’t the greatest actors in the world shines through a little bit brighter than the possibility that the characters themselves are…okay. To be honest, I’m sure everything could’ve used some help here. Even by giving these characters more rounded depth could’ve worked wonders.

WRITING – 6/10 (60%)

Dialogue – 1/2 | Balance – 1/2 | Story Depth – 0/2 | Originality – 2/2 | Interesting – 2/2

The weakness in the story isn’t due to the lack of complexities that the time loop provides…that is always there. The weakness falls upon bland dialogue, characters without any individual goals, and a shallow story made purely to intrigue the viewer but not engage them in any real form or fashion. Their take on time loops is new and fresh, though, which does save the movie and helps it remain memorable in the long run.

BTS – 8/10 (80%)

Visuals – 1/2 | Cinematography – 2/2 | Editing 2/2 | Advertising – 2/2 | Music/Sound – 1/2

With the BTS category, I kept going back and forth. There were definitely things I enjoyed about the visuals here, but it was hard not to ignore the fact that the visuals really did make things feel cheap overall, which in effect, created a small distraction overall. So, at times, it was pretty good. At other times, it was a distraction…so half points there. There was a pretty good sense of cinematography and editing, however, which absolutely contributed to the overall sense of doom, gloom, and mystery this film is associated with. The music subcategory was almost there. Almost. While music and sound was an important element to the plot…they often forget about it and go back to a typical score you might normally expect, which is quite unfortunate.

NARRATIVE ARC – 7/10 (70%)

Introduction – 2/2 | Inciting Incident – 0/2 | Obstacles – 1/2 | Climax – 2/2 | Resolution – 2/2

Narratively, the film suffers from any real Inciting Incident. Being a mystery, it wants to confuse the audience even more by hiding what actually happened to begin with. Instead, the film opens up on an already established time loop, and it only gets weirder from there. So, in essence, there are no inciting incidents, and because the primary character has no individual goals in mind, there are no set of obstacles, either – just the main one – the time loop. Though, the mystery and suspense does build up to a point of a decent climax and resolution. In my opinion, this is the easiest element to get right. Because it didn’t have that Inciting Incident, I think we actually had some weak writers with some glaring oversight.

ENTERTAINMENT – 6/10 (60%)

Rewatchability – 1/2 | Fun Experience – 2/2 | Impulse/Buy – 0/2 | Impulse/Talk – 1/2 | Sucks You In – 2/2

Whatever technicalities may or may not be wrong with this movie, I still found it rather entertaining all around. The cheapness of the film is mostly keeping me from truly desiring to watch it again, but I did have a good time watching it, and because it was so complex, there was enough about the movie that made it so that I couldn’t blink or else I’d miss something important, which made the movie somewhat discussion-worthy for the impulse to talk about it. I wouldn’t really care to own it, but it is pretty entertaining all-around.

SPECIALTY- 35/40 (87.5%)

Time Loop – 10/10 | Horror – 5/10 | Mystery – 10/10 | Halfway Decent – 10/10

The specialty category is an interesting one. It is here for a variety of reasons. First, it’s there because no two movies should be rated exactly the same, movies have different genres, and subconsciously or consciously, most people are ruled by certain explanations. For instance, we know this is a horror movie. A basic expectation for that is for the movie to be scary. I personally didn’t find it to be scary. However, some of the cinematography and visuals helped make the movie feel legitimately creepy, so that gets half points. It’s also listed as a mystery, and that’s something the film does very well, so full points. As a time loop movie, I previously mentioned how they had a fresh take on it, so full points here. As for being halfway decent, I do believe that they made the movie that they ultimately wanted to make, so that also gets full points.

Total Score – 74%

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