Ms Benz appears to have developed a stronger stomach these days as this movie sees her back with Twisted Pictures and a SAW producer no less. Apparently her stint in the franchise was rather nightmarish, quite literally. Of course, this experience was used to hype up the release of the fifth instalment in the infamous “torture” series. Whatever went down, 8 years later and she’s back again. And brunette…again. Speaking of torture…
Although Havenhurst is a very watchable little movie, it frequently suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. As sections of the rooms rotate and change, the movie itself flits between elements of several different movies: from SAW to Hostel, from The Hills Have Eyes to Silent Hill, it never quit finds the one movie that best represents Havenhurst itself.
It’s common practise to slowly reveal the killer’s appearance, but in this case, the film is shot in such a way that most of the time it looks as if his victims are being thrown around by a poltergeist. Not only that, once we finally catch a decent glimpse of the man it quickly becomes apparent why he is kept mostly out of shot. Firstly, he’s not scary in the slightest. Secondly, he looks like an albino Spartan soldier from 300 (2006).
The same can be said of the death scenes. Most of them appear all the more horrific because they either occur in rather dramatic screaming fashion off-screen, or during a crafty cutaway. What’s unfortunate is that the one death that actually happens onscreen is super lame. Badly acted and with subpar special effects. B-movie standard basically. It’s not very promising and calls the director’s skills into question.
Always a pleasure to have Halloween child Danielle Harris along for the ride, however brief. Still beautiful and still looking half her age. Fionnula Flanagan is perfectly cast as the sinister Eleanor. It’s been a long while since she first caught my attention in Alejandro Amenabar’s The Others (2001). And here she’s looking better than ever whilst turning in the performance of the movie. Benz is more than adequate as the struggling Jackie. She carries with her some of the compassion and sweetness of Rita from her days on Dexter (2006). But it’s clear the movie just didn’t know what to do with her characters. They had options and they chose the worst once. Hence, a shitty, shitty ending to Havenhurst.
It doesn’t know what kind of horror movie it is. It’s killer isn’t scary. And it can’t seem to pull off a decent death scene. Other than that it’s well cast and watchable…