Too Haunted

It’s past the season, I know.  But I have no control on when streaming services acquire new titles.  So it was winter by the time I saw Haunt.  Maybe it was the seasonal disconnect, or maybe I’m not all that fond of slashers—whatever the cause, I found it disturbing.  As a horror watcher, I really don’t like being afraid during movies.  And Haunt has those most troubling of characters—the unpredictable kind.  So let’s set this up properly.  Six young people—four women and two men—decide to visit a haunted house attraction on Halloween.  Although they take a random turn on a rural road outside Carbondale, Illinois, they end up at a haunted house attraction, with an illuminated road sign.  I’ll admit it; I don’t like fun houses.  They scare me too much.  So when the creepy clown at the entrance indicates, nonverbally, how they get in (taking no money) and puts their cell phones in a lockbox, I’d have told the others I’d wait in the car.

As we might expect, since this is horror, after a fakey plastic skeleton and some cheap props, it turns our that the terrors are real.  One by one, the young people are killed by a group that practices extreme body modification to make themselves look like real monsters.  For an unexplained reason, they kill everyone who comes to the attraction.  Sadism, one suspects, might be behind this.  In any case, it ends up with a final girl and final boy making it out alive and seeking medical attention.  The haunted house is burned down since Harper, said final girl, and her new boyfriend end up killing most of the killers.  The creepy clown, however, survives to try to hunt Harper down.

The film received pretty high ratings, but it seemed to me there wasn’t much beyond the terrors I normally experience at a fun house.  The body horror verges on torture porn, which is a sub-genre that I simply do not like.  In fact, I only watch it by accident.  My dilemma is that I don’t like to read summaries or watch trailers before seeing a movie.  I prefer to approach it fresh.  I suppose that’s why I keep a list of films that others have recommended, so I know they’re likely good.  I prefer intelligent horror rather than shock horror, although the two can overlap.  Movies that focus on the the pain humans can inflict on each other aren’t the kind I prefer.  Give me a garden-variety monster any day.  Even if it’s a winter weekend, and not Halloween.

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