Havenhurst has all the right ingredients to make a pretty solid horror film. It has a wonderful gothic setting, some pretty actresses with Julie Benz as the main star and Danielle Harris showing up for a tiny cameo. It also has some really gnarly gore scenes that come out of nowhere. Nevertheless, all of these ingredients don’t seem to want to mix properly, resulting in a horror film that feels like it’s lacking something. It isn’t all bad, though, so read on to see what is what…
Welcome to Havenhurst, a gothic apartment complex in the heart of New York City. A beautifully maintained, turn-of-the-century building that houses over 3,000 residents and countless dark secrets. The rent is what you can afford and the rules are simple: live a decent life and you can stay forever. Break the rules and there are consequences.
The film starts off on the wrong foot pretty much right away with having Danielle Harris show up in a role that rivals the length of Drew Barrymore’s in Scream. Okay, maybe that’s fine, as her character becomes the catalyst for Julie Benz’s Jackie to start investigating the mysterious Havenhurst hotel, the last place we saw Harris’ character.
Havenhurst is a gothic hotel set up for recovering addicts. Jackie is a recovering alcoholic, placed in Havenhurst, but her main goal instead of getting better is finding out where her friend disappeared too. We the audience know that something very weird is going on at the hotel, which involves sliding walls, trap doors and a big lumbering psychopath picking off anyone that has gone back to old, nasty habits. Jackie is slowly figuring out what is happening, thanks to the help of a scrappy little foster kid and a cop friend. Unfortunately, the movie sets up the story quite nicely, but fails to deliver when the end rolls around.
We have all these unresolved questions lingering in the air and the movie abruptly ends on a downer note, not providing any resolution. It’s obvious that the movie is setting up a sequel, but sometimes it’s better to make sure your first movie is good before hedging your bets on a sequel.
Don’t fret, though, Havenhurst does have a few fun bits. We have some out of the blue gore scenes that will satisfy practical effects fans and the set pieces are pretty nifty, with all the crazy fake walls and hidden rooms. Plus, the “monster,” although unexplained, is pretty physically intimidating, even if he looks like he walked off the set of Prometheus. Also, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn gives us a quick flash of her boobies, so that’s cool.
Pedestrian seems to be the word of the day when talking about Havenhurst. It has the potential to be really damn cool, with the aforementioned set pieces and gore, but nothing comes together like it should. Nonetheless, it still is a film that is worth checking out, as you may just like it yourself. What better way to see for yourself, then, by checking it out on VOD Feb 10th!