11 items from 2014
*full disclosure: a DVD screener of this film was provided by IFC Films. Director: Mac Carter. Writer: Andrew Barrer. Cast: Harrison Gilbertson, Liana Liberato, Jacki Weaver and Ione Skye. Haunt is an indie horror feature from first time director Mac Carter. As well, the film was developed from one of writer Andrew Barrer's first scripts. And, the central cast is a young twosome: Liana Liberato and Harrison Gilbertson. All of this newness should create for a few interesting bits. But, Haunt is a fairly straight-forward haunted house horror tale. Only a few jump scares and an interesting late reveal, in the story department, create any intrigue. Haunt needed a few more shocks and surprises along the way to break up the film's tedium. In the story, a large manor serves as the film's focal point. Here, the Morello family were cursed by spirits of a netherworld. Five family members were tormented, »
- email@example.com (Michael Allen)
This week is the 25th anniversary of Cameron Crowe‘s first feature, Say Anything, and while he went on to direct three more fantastic films (plus one good one and two stinkers) this one holds a special place in many of our hearts. It’s a rare honest look at teenagers in and out of love, is eminently quotable and features a high number of memorable and possibly iconic scenes. A quarter of a century later and the film is more beloved than ever. The anniversary has led to a handful of editorials on the movie — our own Kate Erbland even had the nerve to question whether Lloyd and Diane were still together 25 years later! The responses were varied and highly pessimistic, but the truth is clear in Lloyd’s persistence and optimism and in Diane’s joy and satisfaction. You only have to watch the movie to know that the two are still living it up »
- Rob Hunter
Break out your boom box, because April 14 is Say Anything's 25th anniversary. Cameron Crowe's 1989 directorial debut tells the teenage love story of alternative dude Lloyd Dobler and goody-goody scholar Diane Court. As always, opposites attract and eventually ride off into the sunset (or, in this case, fly to England) - but not before coping with a meddling papa and immortalizing an iconic Peter Gabriel slow jam. Starring John Cusack and Ione Skye, Say Anything is a film with heart and a surprising amount of philosophy. It's a mix that has helped this rom-com outlast the '80s and find new fans each year. »
- Kelli Bender
Sometime during the spring of my freshman year at college, a friend of mine decided to break out a big romantic gesture for his girlfriend of just a few weeks – they weren’t celebrating anything special, no anniversary or holiday to peg it to, he just wanted to do something – and he decided to recreate the infamous boombox scene from Say Anything. It went over like gangbusters. He drove his truck to the back of her dorm, stood in the bed of it, and blasted Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” for everyone to hear. I’m certain that was part of the charm – his girlfriend heard it, the rest of her dorm heard it, people walking to class heard it. (She was, to put it delicately, a bit of a show-off.) Most importantly, everyone seemed to get it. Cameron Crowe’s film was nearly fifteen years old when this particularly over-the-top expression of love occurred, and »
- Kate Erbland
For his feature film debut, up-and-coming director Mac Carter gives us his own spin on various familiar haunted house tropes in the “better than its bland name would suggest” supernatural thriller Haunt.
It’s opening, ripe in self-awareness that we’re all more than familiar with every kind of supernatural story under the sun these days, establishes early that while Haunt may not be necessarily the most original horror movie you’ll see this year, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a well-crafted, finely executed and highly enjoyable one all the same.
Haunt begins by setting us up with a backstory to its tale, creating an early sense of tension after we witness a grieving man, desperate to make contact with his deceased family, unleashes something far more dangerous than he could possibly imagine via a mysterious box that can communicate with the dead. The story then catches »
- Heather Wixson
Haunt Me Tender: Carter’s Debut Reduced to Derivative Schlock
As Mac Carter’s directorial debut, Haunt, quickly unfurls a haul of standard haunted house clichés, don’t be surprised if you’re put in mind of a couple James Wan features. In fact, there’s not much by way of originality to be experienced as far as its narrative is concerned, a film that chugs along until it finally arrives at a revelation that feels as predictable as it is unenthusiastically rendered. In fact, the film’s opening narration attempts to address this issue, and does actually temper what it’s lacking in chills with considerable effort in providing us with a pair of protagonists that elevates the material. Despite Carter and screenwriter Andrew Barrer’s efforts, an overabundance in supernatural flourishes in the second half severely detracts from any mounting dread inspired by its fitting design, which cheapens »
- Nicholas Bell
The problem with teenager-oriented horror-thrillers is that, at least to this former teenager, they're really stupid. Teenagers may not have a lot of life experience but they're usually pretty sharp, which explains why they love a good horror flick. Unfortunately most horror flicks geared toward teenagers are written for the dumbest teenager in the room, which explains why so many producers try to populate their scary tales with pretty people under the age of 20. The actual screenplay is rarely a priority.
But hey, here's a new indie horror flick about teenagers and haunted houses that isn't A) moronic, B) boring, or C) a formulaic retread simply hoping to cash in on one profitable weekend at the box office. Like the recent (and also rather interesting) Vincenzo Natali film Haunter, Mac Carter's Haunt treats its youthful protagonists like actual human beings -- and that certainly helps to raise the stakes »
- Scott Weinberg
It undoubtedly takes some stones to name your debut horror film "Haunt," but director Mac Carter has done just that. Where that title might suggest a standard concoction of genre tics, the filmmaker instead goes for something atmospheric and unsettling, and it's a tone that comes across in this exclusive clip from the film. Starring Harrison Gilbertson, Liana Liberato, Ione Skye and Jacki Weaver, the film tells the story of a family of five who move into a beautiful, sprawling dream home only to discover it's cursed — the previous family who lived there all died, with only one survivor remaining. Meanwhile, the moody Evan strikes up a relationship with Samantha, the girl next door, and in the process, the horrific home comes back to life. In this scene, we see the eerieness that surrounds the young couple as they share a cigarette by the pool. "Haunt"hits VOD and and iTunes on February 7th, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Catch the trailer and check out the photos for "Haunt," starring Harrison Gilbertson, Liana Liberato, Ione Skye, Jacki Weaver, Danielle Chuchran, Jan Broberg, Danielle Chuchran The horror opens On Demand on February 7 follwed by a theatrical release come March 7, 2014. Mac Carter directs from the screenplay by Andrew Barrer. In "Haunt," family of five moves into a beautiful, sprawling dream home. One problem: it’s cursed, having caused the deaths of the previous family to occupy it, leaving only »
We’ve reached the near mid-point of this Definitive List; 20 down, 30 to go. As we move forward, the story of “boy meets girl” becomes more complicated, as plenty of stumbling blocks stand in the way: lack of experience, insecurity, unsupportive parents, and, as in most cases, ego. So, when we watch all these films, what do we learn? Hundreds of romantic comedies end happily, but none end in the same way. Perhaps there’s a method to the madness, but the more we tread through these highlights, the more it’s clear that to make an impact, you have to change the game or perfect the existing one.
#30. Bull Durham (1988)
Baseball movies had worn out their welcome a bit in the mid-80s and audiences weren’t clamoring for a romantic comedy based around the national pastime. Enter writer/director Ron Shelton, who decided to write a film based on »
- Joshua Gaul
Some new official images from the 'Haunt' camp have been released by IFC Films. The creepy new horror from director Mac Carter and written by Andrew Barrer will be landing digitally at the beginning of next month ready to scare home audiences across North America. 'Haunt' stars Harrison Gilbertson, Liana Liberato ('Trust'), Danielle Chuchran, Ione Skye, Jan Broberg and Jacki Weaver ('Stoker'). It hits VOD over in the Us from 7 February and will then receive a subsequent limited theatrical from 7 March. Check out the batch of new images below. »
11 items from 2014
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