Haunt (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 9-Dec-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Trailer-x3 for other releases
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 85:26
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mac Carter
Studio
Distributor

Eagle Entertainment
Starring Harrison Gilbertson
Liana Liberato
Jacki Weaver
Ione Skye
Brian Wimmer
Danielle Chuchran
Ella Harris

Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Reinhold Heil


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† Right from the opening scene of Haunt we know that this is a story about a haunted house; we see a man connecting with the dead by means of a box with a short wave radio type interior after which he is possessed and dies. Then, with a voiceover, we see a flashback to the fate of last family that lived in the house, including the death of the father and three children, leaving only the mother (Jacki Weaver) alive. She sells the house to another family; Emily and Alan Asher (Ione Skye, Brian Wimmer) and their three children, the eldest Sara (Danielle Chuchran) who is about to go to college, shy 18 year old Evan (Harrison Gilbertson) and youngest daughter Anita (Ella Harris).

†††† Very soon after moving into the house the children start to sense strange things are around although the parents are oblivious. This escalates when Evan meets Sam (Liana Liberato), a young woman his age, alone and crying in the woods. Sam seems to be living with an abusive father nearby but declines Evanís sympathy and help. But next night Sam steals into Evanís room and the two start a tentative relationship. Sam seems to know a lot about the house, including where the mysterious box we saw before is hidden, and she persuades Evan to try to contact the previous occupants. They succeed, but of course there are consequences.

†††† Haunt is the feature debut of director Mac Carter and writer Andrew Barrer, who add another film to a very packed haunted house genre. There is really nothing original about the plotting, or the direction which uses sudden cut away frames to the ghosts, shadows seen in corridors, past flashbacks, strange POVs, and loud music cues to create scares. Only a couple of scares really work but the film drags you in because Carter manages to keep control of the material at all times and the film builds its chills and tension nicely due to a combination of decent dialogue, excellent acting by the two leads and by not overplaying its hand.

†††† Both Australian Harrison Gilbertson (who won an AFI award for Best Young Actor for Beneath Hill 60 (2010)), as the trusting, introspective and naÔve Evan, and Texan born Liana Liberato, as a enigmatic young woman with a dark past, are natural and believable and work well together while veteran actress Jacki Weaver makes the most of a small part and provides one of the best startle moments in the film. Haunt is not a gory film; what violence there is occurs mostly out of frame and the film relies on the tension and atmosphere created by snow covered Utah exteriors and shadowy corridors. Unlike many low budget first features, the dialogue is precise and genuine and the filmís plotting is sure, not wasting any of its 85 minute running time.

†††† Many horror films are let down during their final reels when the filmmakers do not know how to provide a resolution to interesting set ups; Haunt is not one of them! It may not cover any new territory but the performances are excellent and the clues towards the twist at the end are scattered appropriately throughout the film. This means that part of the twist is not unexpected, but another part results in the film not quite resolving itself as one expects.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† Haunt is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, close to the 2.35:1 original ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

†††† Except for a little bit of noise reduction, this is a very nice looking print. Detail is very good, blacks rock solid and, as required in a haunted house film, shadow detail is excellent, allowing us to see what the filmmakers want us to see. Colours are natural, but subdued. Some interior scenes under lights have that yellowish digital look, but night time exteriors are crystal clear with white lights. Contrast and brightness are consistent, skin tones fine.

†††† No subtitles are provided.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

†††† English DTS-HD MA 5.1 is the only audio option.

†††† The audio is not aggressive but delivers the sound design a horror film requires. Dialogue was clear, centred and easy to understand. The surrounds and rears were used mainly for the subtle sounds of whispers during the sťances or creaking floorboards, with loud noise during the visions / flashbacks. The sound design also added a bump when an apparition flashed through the frame. The score by Reinhold Heil was suitably atmospheric, adding sound to scares; it was well represented in the mix, aiding the visuals without ever seeming too loud. The sub-woofer did not draw attention to itself but added bass effectively to scares and the music.

†††† There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers

†††† Trailers for Two Men in Town (2:14), Poker Night (1:38) and The Devilís Hand (2:15) play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††† There is currently no Region A US or Region B UK release of Haunt listed on Amazon. The only Blu-ray release listed is the German Region B which only has the film trailer, plus a few other trailers, as extras. Hardly worth importing, buy local.

Summary

†††† Haunt is a haunted house film that relies on chills, atmosphere and character rather than gore. There is little that is original but the film works due an intelligent script, slowly building tension and excellent performances by Australians Harrison Gilbertson, Jacki Weaver, and Texan Liana Liberato. Haunt is well worth seeking out for those interested in the genre; it is by no means the worst example around!

†††† The video and audio are good. There are no extras, but there is nothing in other regions either.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, January 25, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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