Havenhurst aka Resurrection of Evil – USA, 2016

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‘Evil lives here’

Havenhurst – aka Resurrection of Evil – is a 2016 American horror feature film directed by former writer Andrew C. Erin (Sam’s LakeEmbrace of the Vampire) from a screenplay co-written with Daniel Farrands (Amityville: The Awakening; Crystal Lake Memories; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers) for Protocol Entertainment and Twisted Pictures.

The film’s soundtrack is by tomandandy (47 Meters Down; The Monster; Sinister 2).

Buy DVD: Amazon.co.uk

Review:

While offering nothing very original, Havenhurst is an above average shocker with some neat twists and solid production values.

Guilt-ridden over the loss of her eight year-old daughter Jackie (Julie Benz) is a recovering alcoholic who moves into apartment building Havenhurst – a home for those who are trying to turn their lives around. The rules are simple – stay on the straight and narrow, and you can stay; slip up, and you’ll be evicted. Jackie is also looking for her friend and fellow resident Danielle (Danielle Harris in a blink-and-you’ll-miss- it appearance), who has disappeared after being evicted.

It soon becomes clear that ‘eviction’ in this case doesn’t mean leaving the building, but rather suffering a fatal punishment at the hands of a mysterious, hulking, ghostly figure living behind the walls. As Jackie teams up with abused teen Sarah (Belle Shouse), and deliberately begins to drink in order to receive an eviction notice, the mysteries of the house are opened up.

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Havenhurst impresses in many ways. The acting is uniformly strong, the production values impressively high, and while the story essentially grafts together elements from other films we’ve all see, it does so in an effective way, ensuring that the film remains a tense, gripping affair throughout. Indeed, my partner, who has yawned through plenty of this sort of thing, was literally on the edge of her seat during the final act.

The film throws in a few interesting plot twists along the way and has one unexpected and genuinely startling gore scene midway through that you won’t forget in a hurry. With appearances from genre stalwart Jennifer Blanc-Biehn (who, yes, gets naked) and Fionnula Flanagan, Havenhurst is several cuts above the norm. An interesting variation on all the usual clichéd haunted house titles that abound, it’s well worth the effort of tracking down.

David Flint, HORRORPEDIA

Other reviews:

“It’s a like a giant puzzle of death at times, and it makes for some fun visuals – when we can make them out in the dimly-lit environments. Havenhurst combines elements of the Saw films with narrative beats straight out of Robert Bloch’s American Gothic, but while the promise for something truly special is there the pieces never quite come together.” Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

“With a downbeat ending that caps off the terrifying nature of the characters within, Havenhurst is one of the best examples of the genre I’ve seen in months. Unmissable.” Phil Wheat, Nerdly

“Like the building, Havenhurst has an appealing exterior. Anyone might be lured inside by the film’s cast of familiar faces and its polished presentation. An echoing interior in need of more substance and scares, on the other hand, doesn’t incentivize sticking around to soak it in.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

“It doesn’t get too deep. It’s not enamored with itself. It sets up a premise and it has fun. It purposefully falls victim to horror movie clichés, without making fun of them. It stays a horror film, focusing on the mystery, blood and kills. The film quality, acting, score, deaths and pace of the film are on point. The script may have been weak but it’s a horror movie.” Jason Minton, Without Your Head

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” …there’s a couple of scenes that are amongst the most brutal I’ve seen in recent films that are not in the “extreme horror” genre. That may sound like faint praise to some, but it’ll certainly satisfy some fans. What won’t satisfy many of them however, is Danielle Harris getting top billing for what is basically a cameo.” Jim Morazzini, Beneath the Underground

“The system doesn’t support interesting stories like this while they continue to rehash and remake tired franchises and slasher flicks. Armed to the teeth with classic genre tropes, excellent acting, awesome practical gore effects, and tons of brooding thematics, Havenhurst takes the evil apartment building setting to its own level.” The Movie Sleuth

“It’s a shame that Havenhurst never comes together in a meaningful way because there is a considerable amount of potential. The undeniable ominousness is present throughout, the performances are consistently good, and Erin is clearly a competent director, but none of the puzzle pieces seem to fit.” Blair Hoyle, Cinema Slasher

“The real star of this film is that house. What a marvel of engineering and enterprise. The intricacy and care shown to this grand set design was eye opening and a joy to watch. To say too much would give away key plot points, but believe me, when all is said and done, that house is what you will remember. Some scares, some intrigue, some gore, and THAT house.” Sue Finn, The Movie Waffler

” …it’s just all so very generic and full of stuff that we’ve seen before, and it really pains me to say that, because I do like the idea behind the story and I’ll admit that it has its good moments with a decent third act and a brisk pace that doesn’t drag for the most part.” Graeme Robertson, Flickering Myth

“The character of Jackie was well-written, battling her own demons while confronting the evil of Havenhurst. Erin captured beautiful shots and scenes that portrayed the lavish surroundings while also showing the darkness of the building’s secrets. Also, the score by tomandandy built the suspense up subtly, yet at times had me jumping out of my seat.” Pop Horror

Havenhurst-2016

” …this movie could have used a bit more blood and guts. Though, there is at least one scene very heavy on the guts. The practical effects are also a welcome change of pace. No CGI that’s noticeable at least (which is always the best kind of CG). Not that there is great emphasis on special effects. Havenhurst depends more on suspense rather than effects.” Che Gilson, UK Horror Scene

“The film’s technical elements are first-rate, including the production design and cinematography that evocatively convey the creepiness of the setting and the tense musical score by the veteran film-scoring duo known as tomandandy. But despite the strong efforts of everyone involved, Havenhurst proves all too unimaginative…” Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

Main cast:

  • Julie Benz … Jackie/Jamie – Dexter; Saw V; 8mm 2
  • Fionnula Flanagan … Eleanor – Trash Fire
  • Belle Shouse … Sarah
  • Danielle Harris … Danielle – Halloween 4 and 5, Rob Zombie’s Halloween; Hatchet franchise
  • Josh Stamberg … Tim
  • Dendrie Taylor … Tammie
  • Toby Huss … Wayne
  • Douglas Tait … Jed – Jack the Reaper
  • Matt Lasky – The Purge: Anarchy
  • Jennifer Blanc … Paula St.Clair – Fetish Factory; Psychophonia; The Girl

Filming locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA
Tudor City, New York, New York, USA (exterior shots)

Release:

In the UK, Thunderbird Releasing is issued the film on DVD on 9 October 2017 as Resurrection of Evil.

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