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Review: Havenhurst



Review

Andrew C. Erin’s latest offering ‘Havenhurst’ is sure to attract even the most casual horror enthusiast; the trailer alone showcases quite a polished gothic-themed thriller.

Jackie (Julie Benz - Rambo), a woman on the road to recovery from alcohol addiction is sent to Havenhurst, an apartment complex designed to help recovering addicts under a semi-controlled environment, or so it seems. Havenhurst ran by Eleanor (Fionnula Flanagan – The Other’s, Four Brothers)  welcomes Jackie and gives her the rundown on rules, it’s quite simple - succumbing to any previous addictions tenants will be forced to ‘leave’ the building, it starts to become clear that in reality nobody gets to leave Havenhurst instead becoming a number on the missing persons list.

Jackie is at Havenhurst to both face her guilt over the loss of her daughter (a car accident where Jackie was driving under the influence) and to try and uncover the recent disappearance of her friend Danielle (Danielle Harris) whom she met at rehab and was last located at the apartment.

The films opener is well shot and a lot of questions are raised, Danielle is being chased, before meeting her demise – someone or something is clearly out to get her. For me Havenhurst does struggle a little with a mixed identity, the start almost suggests a paranormal force, the more that gets revealed I was convinced it was some form of creature and obviously the reveal is something less surprising, I can’t help but feel there’s a lot of ingredients in the pot and a lot of ideas were floating around the office – Havenhurst does settle down the thriller route where it then stays until the very end.

Jackie starts to learn about the grim history of the building, tenants disappearing, screams echoing down the corridors – hidden rooms and compartments. She finds a friend in a lonely foster child and with the aid of a New York detective tries to unravel the truth about this disturbing building.

This is an experienced cast and the quality of the acting is top grade, Fionnula Flanagan as the sinister apartment manager is played very convincingly, her evil demeanour shines through effortlessly. The secret network of wall space/trap doors is brilliant and you feel a constant state of vulnerability for Jackie.

There are a couple of really well put together gore scenes and the production value shows, unfortunately its quite minimal and you are quickly reminded that the film is not going to stray from its thriller roots. The apartment itself is a fantastic setting for the film, corridors and rooms are poorly lit, the building always seems unoccupied which gives an unsettling loneliness consuming the viewers. Some of the external shots do have a whiff of CGI about them but are fairly impressive none the less, happily though the majority is shot inside.

Jackie’s curiosity can grate at times, it’s clear that she is determined to find out the truth behind the building but ignorance is a killer in horror films. When the shit hits the fan I would rather take my chances jumping out of the window, than face whatever is lurking in the shadows!  

Overall Havenhurst is invasive and will get under your skin, there are no happy endings to be seen here - it’s a well written and executed thriller which has a great setting and cast, the film does lose its way a little in the middle but all said and done well worth a watch . With a release date of early 2017 keep your eye out for this!

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