SXSW Review: 'Haunter'

'Splice' director explores the DNA of the haunted house film

Some people are jerks in life, and they’re jerks in death.

Abigail Breslin in 'Haunter'
Meet “the Pale Man” (Stephen McHattie), a deceased serial killer who haunts his previous house, possessing its living inhabitants to continue his murder streak postmortem.

Lisa (Abigail Breslin) and her entire family fall victim, and it’s up to her (as a ghost) and one of the house’s newest inhabitants, the still-alive Olivia (Eleanor Zichy), to stop him before Olivia’s family is next.

Directed by Canadian Vincenzo Natali (Splice, a cult favorite) and written by Brian King, who previously collaborated with Natali on 2002's Cypher, Haunter contains some truly suspenseful moments. But the film crucially fails to maintain that anxious atmosphere, which makes it easy to start questioning what would otherwise be excusable enough plot issues for a horror film. Still, the house has all the makings of a classic haunting – complete with a furnace full of teenage remains that apparently went unnoticed during renovation.

Haunter screens again Wednesday, March 13, 11:45pm, Alamo Ritz.

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SXSW Film, SXSW, Haunter, Vincenzo Natali, Brian King, Splice, Abigail Breslin

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