Turing out the very edgy and scary flick Havenhurst, director and writer Andrew C. Erin’s film should delight fans of the horror genre. Nicely written, expertly filmed and edited, there’s shock and fear coming at you when you least expect it. The story even has a message that there’s consequences for wrong decisions, abuse and over indulgence. That said, let’s get on with the movie review.
Checking out of rehab for alcoholism, Jackie (Julie Benz) moves on to Havenhurst an apartment house that’s been taking abusers in over many years. She carries a heavy heart with the loss of her daughter because of her abuse, but wants to turn a new leaf. She checks into her apartment and gets an invitation from owner of Havenhurst, Eleanor Mudget (Fionnula Flanagan), to personally meet her and sign an agreement.
The agreement is simple. There are only three rules; “you must stay sober, lead a good life and don’t fall back into your old habits. You can stay at Havenhurst until the day you die”. Jackie signs the agreement and gets introduced to her son Ezra Mudget (Matt Lasky) who does the handy work for the apartment house.
Before she leaves Jackie asks Eleanor why she was given her best friend Danielle’s room who has gone missing. “She was the last tenant to check out,” she comments with a sly smile. Writer and director Andrew C. Erin holds back nothing turning up the fear factor with bumps in the night, flash back images of Jackie’s drunken rants and mysterious machinations.
His characters are top notch, able to depict the evil and terror that makes a movie of this genre work. Even the good guys seethe with mistakes allowing their past to come back to haunt them. Each role becomes part of the immoral and depraved fabric that should keep even the most hardened horror fan wanting more.
Part of the reason the film plays out so well comes from the fine acting by the whole cast under Erin’s direction. Emotions run high as each of the tenants take center stage. From Sarah’s (Belle Shouse) conflict with her foster parents Tammy (Dendrie Taylor) and Wayne (Toby Huss) to other tenants like Paula (Jennifer Blanc) a former hooker addicted to sex.
Leading performances by Julie Benz, Fionnula Flanagan and Belle Shouse are equally good. They guide their characters keeping the audience off balance throughout the film as the story sets up one fiery twist after another. Couple this with the biggest star the apartment house itself. Filled with secret passages, long dark hallways leading to strange rooms and hiding places that all form the horror playground in Havenhurst. It’s a labyrinth of sinister opportunities and in this film there’s many. Then there’s Jed.
Havenhurst has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains violence, gory scenes, language, drug use, attempted rape and sex/nudity. Not for the squeamish and timid, make sure you do not see it alone.
Havenhurst will begin weeklong theatrical runs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Kansas City and Phoenix. Nationwide, Havenhurst will be available on Cable VOD and Digital HD platforms, including Charter Spectrum, Comcast, DirecTV Cinema, Dish, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Vudu and more.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A good fright and chiller for those who are fans of the genre.
Additional Film Information:
Cast: Julie Benz, Fionnula Flanagan, Belle Shouse, Josh Stamberg, Danielle Harris, Dendrie Taylor, Toby Huss, Douglas Tait, Matt Lasky, Jennifer Blanc, Currie Graham, Matt O’Neill
Directed and written by: Andrew C. Erin
Genre: Horror, Thriller
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, contains drug use, sex/nudity, violence, gore, language
Running Time: 1 hr. 20 min.
Release Date: February 10, 2017
Distributed by: Brainstorm Media