‘Evil lives here’
Havenhurst – aka Resurrection of Evil – is a 2016 American horror feature film directed by former writer Andrew C. Erin (Sam’s Lake; Embrace 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
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.
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
“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
” …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