tells the story of Jackie (Julie Benz), a troubled young woman who
takes up residence in a Gothic apartment building where her best
friend was living when she went missing. During her stay, Jackie must
confront a terrifying evil and try to find the truth about her best
film does a fantastic job of sucking the viewer into the story from
the very beginning. The opening sequence features horror favorite
Danielle Harris as Jackie's best friend Danielle, and sets the tone
as the bloody mystery of Havenhurst is presented. With Danielle
missing and a detective named Tim (nicely played by Josh Stamberg) on
the case and Jackie experiencing the mysterious and terrifying
happenings at Havenhurst, the movie unfolds as an effective slow burn
house of horrors film noir.
filmmakers create a wonderfully dark and heavy atmosphere within
Havenhurst complete with creaking floors and doors and dark wood
paneled walls. The rich color palette of the cinematography gives a
muted vibrancy to the fabric of the rugs and furniture through the
musty and stale looking air. The film is a beautiful cross between
the colorful look of Hammer films of the 1960's and the black and
white film noirs of the 1940's.
building that is Havenhurst is a darkly dominant and imposing
building shooting high and heavy into the air, topped with sharp and
spear-like Gothic style spires. It's a large, tomb-like building with
locked up secrets and a deep, violent history. Havenhurst is full of
plenty of horrific surprises and the building becomes a fun character
in and of itself.
for the cast, Belle Shouse is fantastic as Sarah, the young victim of
her drunken, abusive foster father living in Havenhurst and Julie
Benz is solid, if not a little one note, as Jackie. Her rough history
and sad current life is good reason for her character to be a bit
numb as a person and I'm glad the script was strong enough to set
that up. It's hard to show the dynamic Danielle Harris and her strong
screen presence for the opening sequence and have to follow that up.
As a viewer, I was left wishing Danielle Harris were the lead
character. That's how revered Harris is within the horror genre;
using her as a cameo is almost distracting and dangerous because you
end up missing her when she's no longer on screen.
the mystery of Havenhurst unfolds, we get to see some pretty
impressive looking gory effects and set ups, I only wish there were
more of them. I appreciated the slow burn approach to the film and
the patience the script took to lay out the story and flesh out the
characters, but the gory horrors looked so good I would have liked
to see a bit more because they felt a little few and far between.
With that said, it's a beautiful looking film with a solid story and
strong characters. I definitely recommend Havenhurst to any fans of
the genres I mentioned because there's a lot to like and enjoy.