Haunter (2020) short film review

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A man is awoken from his sleep by things that go bump in the night so he decides to venture downstairs to investigate. Here is our review of Philip Brocklehurst’s Haunter.

Haunter Stillshot 8 300x225 Haunter (2020) short film review

Due to the current COVID crisis, there has been a rethink about creativity across the world. Because no one can go near anyone else we are all conversing via zoom or video conference meetings when outside we have to be so vigilant and take heed of the social distancing rules. Now the theatre, film, and TV industries have all had to take some business altering decisions that could quite conceivably leave a lasting impression.

Certain TV shows have changed formats to try and cope with the lockdown leading to presenters working from homes, chat shows now take place over skype and people are sitting two metres away from each other in empty studios. Meanwhile, the film industry has placed its major blockbusters on hold while also releasing a number of their movies straight into the living rooms of the general public via different streaming platforms.

Haunter, Philip Brocklehurst’s latest short film, is an exercise in how to create entertainment using confined spaces, and the current restrictions to his advantage with the help of basic practical effects. Haunter is an efficient seven-minute horror film consisting mainly of ‘jumpy bits’, of which there are many. A ‘jumpy bit’ is not a technical term nor a professional description it is merely what I call a moment when something sudden, loud or scary happens. This can be something basic like it’s only a (insert animal cliche here) or as abrupt as a character being hit by a car. Viewers who like to jump during a film will get their money’s worth from Haunter.

Haunter begins with the outside of a somber-looking property where something strange is lurking in the shadows. As the clock shows 2:59 this presence enters the house. Using a fisheye lens and some eerie sound effects, Brocklehurst lets us follow this entity, Sam Raimi Evil Dead style, as it rushes around the quiet and darkened home. Haunter slowly teases us with some quick cuts showing empty rooms with faint off-screen rumblings, then suddenly a tap turns itself on, a door begins to slam loudly and the radio is switched on. Woken by the commotion our protagonist (played by regular Brocklehurst collaborator PM Thomas) gets up and decides to investigate. Then, as he tries to figure it all out, the music builds and there is further activity, louder noises, and more confusion with a final violent scare ending the film as the clock changes to 3:00.

Haunter Poster 300x168 Haunter (2020) short film reviewHaunter’s script written by Muhammed Holmatov, although not a particularly original concept, is entertaining enough while Brad Fletcher’s cinematography shows some inventive angles and images. However, it is the excellently creepy music by Stephen Ortlepp that will leave you with a lasting impression.

Director Brocklehurst is a regular at Screen Critix and we have reviewed a number of his films over the past few years. He shows genuine improvement with each film he sends to us. The execution and use of practical effects within Haunter show more skill from Brocklehurst than I have seen in previous efforts and his ability to tackle any genre is impressive. Haunter is easily Brocklehurst’s best production yet.

3.5 / 5 stars     

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