Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Brief Thoughts - HAUNTER (2013)

Last night I finally caught up with HAUNTER (2013) by director Vincenzo Natali and it was fantastic! I probably should shy away from over praising the film out of the fear that readers of this blog will go into it with their expectations set high and feel disappointed but - I really loved this movie. It is a ghost story with a very intriguing twist but that twist is only the beginning of the tale with many great moments to follow. I've been a fan of Natali's past work since CUBE (1997) through SPLICE (2009) and I had known this was his newest movie I would have watched it the minute it popped up for possible viewing. (This reminds me that I still need to see his 2002 film CYPHER which promises to be a spy story!) I love the mood that the director is able to evoke in his films. There is a slightly heightened reality combined with the banality of the everyday that is unique and has the effect making his movies feel like something is about to happen at any time. They are smoothly told and the direction is naturalistic and uncomplicated in the way information is presented. Natali is an excellent director whose work seems incapable of connecting with a huge audience but it is perfect for me. I think his ideas are just too out of the mainstream - too quirky - to make most viewers comfortable with his stories.

The cast of HAUNTER is very good with Abigail Breslin showing real skill as the main character and excellent Canadian character actor Stephen McHattie being a creepy bastard in brilliant fashion. The little boy that plays Breslin's brother is a bit stiff in his role but that is the only sour performance note in the entire movie. If you've seen and liked his earlier films or even if they seemed too odd in the past, give this one a try. It might be his most accessible horror work to date and in a better world would have been a hit in theaters. It is available to stream on Netflix which is where I watched it. 

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