Havenhurst (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)
Updated: Mar 21, 2020
Starring Julie Benz, Fionnula Flanagan, Belle Shouse, Matt Lasky, Douglas Tait, Josh Stamberg, Danielle Harris, Dendrie Taylor, Toby Huss, Jennifer Blanc, Currie Graham, Carrie Armstrong and Gwen Holloway.
Screenplay by Andrew C. Erin and Daniel Farrands.
Directed by Andrew C. Erin.
Distributed by Brainstorm Media. 84 minutes. Not Rated.
Havenhurst seems to get its inspiration from a line in the classic Eagles song “Hotel California”: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.
This in itself can be a very scary idea for a film. The fact that Havenhurst is only partially successful at creating this overwhelming sense of paranoia is something of a shame, but it was an interesting idea to try.
The Havenhurst apartments are one of those huge gothic monstrosities of a building, slightly off the beaten path in Manhattan. At once charmingly retro and vaguely disturbing, the old-fashioned high-rise teems with weird corners, hidden cameras (honestly, not all that well hidden), secret doorways, catwalks and corridors. And lots and lots of secrets.
The building becomes a character in the film – much like the Dakota did in Rosemary’s Baby – honestly arguably one of the most interesting characters.
I just wish the rest of Havenhurst was as effortlessly creepy as its namesake building.
It starts as a creepy possible haunting scenario, and eventually downshifts into a more earthbound and jaded serial killer thriller.
Julie Benz (of Dexter) plays Jackie, a recovering alcoholic whose daughter died when she was driving drunk. She is just about to get out of rehab when a friend she met trying to get sober contacts her about suspicions that she has about the building she is staying in – and then she and her boyfriend promptly disappear.
Jackie ends up being put in her old friend’s apartment – complete with the friend’s belongings, which have not been moved out – though the landlady (Fionnula Flanagan) insists she has no idea why the woman took off in the middle of the night. Of course the audience knows from an earlier scene that something more nefarious happened to her.
Jackie befriends Sarah (Belle Shouse), a young girl down the hall who spends most of her time avoiding her abusive foster parents. Together they explore the massive old building to find out its secrets.
It turns out that the building has been opened up by the landlady as a welcoming place for people to recover from addictions and the bad choices they have made in life. However, if you backslide a little bit… watch out!
Havenhurst does have a legitimately surprising climax, but there aren’t all that many other surprises on the way to get there.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2017 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: February 9, 2017.
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