Gilbert Speaks: A Ghost Investigator’s Review of “Haunter”

3 Feb

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I love films about ghosts. Maybe it’s because I’ve been seeing the dead since I was a toddler and, except for two rather nasty spirits, most of the spirits that I come in contact with are really nice to know. While flipping through my Comcast guide, I saw a film that captured my interest. “Haunter” is a ghost story that deals with a nasty spirit. Did it pass this ghost investigator’s test? Find out after the jump.

Haunter

Directed by Vincenzo Natali and starring Abigail Breslin, Peter Outerbridge, Stephen McHattie and Samantha Weinstein, Haunter is a supernatural film that asks an important question. Can the dead save us from a bad situation? I will give you my personal experience about this after the review.

Lisa

I have been following Abigail Breslin ever since she co-starred in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs” which I think was one hell of a great alien flick. Abigail’s character Lisa is a teenager who is awaiting the arrival of her sixteenth birthday. We watch the mundaneness of her day starting with little brother, Robbie (Peter DaCunha), waking her up with his walkie-talkie. He’s a Pacman game and he wants her to join him. Robbie also has an invisible playmate called Edgar and Robbie uses this imaginary friend to get extra helpings of ice cream.

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Mom (Michelle Nolden) is in the kitchen making pancakes and she asks Lisa to put the clothes in the wash. Lisa appears agitated and at first we just chalk it off to teenage angst. Lisa’s mom mentions casually that dad (Peter Outerbridge) is having problems fixing the family car, but hopefully, it will be fixed in time for them to go out and celebrate Lisa’s birthday the next day.

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The weather is quite foggy which prevents Lisa from going out to visit friends. When Lisa is unable to explain what happened to some of the laundry: pieces are missing, Dad and Mom call Lisa down for a family chat. They can’t understand why she is so obstinate and miserable. Lisa spends her free time playing her clarinet, but she suspects that she is not alone. Someone keeps calling her name and, there are strange noises coming from the basement. All in all, it seems to be a normal family living a normal life.

The Loop

We realize that there is nothing normal about this family or the life they live. Lisa wakes up at the same time each day with little Robbie making the same request to play, and her mother making the same exact meals every day while dad is heard banging away in the garage on the car that is never fixed. Lisa is asked where she would like to eat for her birthday, and the same pieces of laundry disappear. Lisa is becoming aware that something is very wrong, but her family won’t believe her. Lisa realizes that the spirit who has been calling out her name is in fact a living person named Olivia (Samantha Weinstein) and that it is she who is dead.

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Olivia is from a future time and she is in trouble. When Lisa finds a secret door behind the dryer, it leads her to the discovery of a graveyard. The house belonged to an evil serial killer called Pale Man (Stephen McHattie) and it is in this underground maze that the remains of his are kept.

Conclusion

As it happens with real hauntings, certain events are repeated in a loop that never ends. The Pale Man was an evil entity both alive and dead. As a child, he murdered his own parents and, as an adult, he killed young children. Not only does Pale Man keep these children’s souls prisoner in his house, he also possesses the fathers to do his bidding in disposing of their families. Pale Man never expected the living and the dead to join forces, but they did and Lisa is able to save Olivia and her family. Lisa with the help of the dead children, destroy Pale Man.

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Can the dead help the living? Yes, I have a true story in Chicken Soup for the Soul that tells how the spirit of my dead father-in-law frightened away two men who were about to drag me into the woods. This spirit was sent to protect me, and after he scared the bejeebers out of my attackers and sent them running for their lives, he disappeared.

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The veil between the living and dead is thin and it is possible to communicate between the veil. I do this all the time. It is a gift that both my parents had. In fact, my dead parents hang out in my attic. They protect me from any nasty spirits I may encounter on my investigations, and have given me many the “Heads-up” on certain situations and events. Their warnings have kept me safe.

Watch Haunter. I think you will like it. I give it a 4-star rating.

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