Jackie (Julie Benz), a troubled young woman with unyielding alcohol addiction, is released from rehab and given a second chance with a new job and a furnished apartment at Havenhurst. Guilt-ridden over the tragic loss of her 8-year-old daughter resulting from her addiction, Jackie is quickly drawn into the mysteries of Havenhurst, in particular, the unsolved disappearance of the apartment’s previous occupant, a young woman (Danielle Harris) she befriended in rehab who disappeared recently without a trace. Aided by a hardened New York police detective (Josh Stamberg) and a lonely foster child (Belle Shouse) who lives under the shadow of her caretakers’ sadistic whims, Jackie must not only battle her inner demons but the very real ones that live deep within the walls of Havenhurst.
Jackie is a recovering alcoholic who has just finished her rehabilitation program and takes up residence in a luxurious looking Gothic apartment building named Havenhurst but is more like a facility that houses ex-addicts, whatever their addiction may be. Jackie is responsible for the death of her daughter which was the result of her addiction, she is also looking for her good friend, Danielle, a photographer, who suddenly disappeared while staying at Havenhurst. The only catch, you have to mind the one and only rule in Havenhurst, and that implies that the residents should not start back with their bad habits.
This is explained in detail by Eleanor (Fionnula Flanagan), the landlady of this shelter. “Our rules are simple. You stay sober, you lead a good life, and you don’t fall back into your old habits. Then, you are welcome to stay here until the day you die. And if you don’t lead a good life? Then your stay at Havenhurst would be terminated.” Eleanor is a very distinguished-looking older woman who clearly shows her sympathy towards the inhabitants and who obviously cares about their welfare. In fact, she appears to be a mother of two strange sons. There is also a link between the notorious Herman Mudget, aka better known as H. H. Holmes, one of America’s first documented serial killers from the early 1800s.
Once Jackie signs her lease, she essentially committed her life to this deadly deal. After she moves into her new apartment, weird things start to happen and she desperately tries to piece together the mystery of Havenhurst. There are a ton of secret hatches which Havenhurst is honeycombed with, escape routes, false walls, and observation holes, all overseen by the mysterious Eleanor and her two killer sons Ezra & Jed. One son is in charge of maintenance, the other of executions, or removing the junkies from the building, to be more precise.
Havenhurst is definitely one beautiful mansion filled with many incredible mazes, secret corridors, and entrances in the walls, with the final destination of the victims is very similar to another horror movie I simply adore. Can you guess which one? Yeah, the basement looks more like a version of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” than anything else, as it’s extremely creepy as hell. It’s not long before Jackie begins doing a little bit of detective work in which she realizes that some of the previous tenants have disappeared without a trace.
Although I liked this movie, I still walked away from this feeling a little empty, like something was missing. Despite a strong character performance and a good amount of gruesome gore, the film never really delivered the chills. It basically failed to offer up the pulse-pounding one would expect from any horror film. There’s also great and very eerie atmospherics and some predictable jump scares, but just a bit too many for me. To be honest, there’s not a whole lot of originality going on in Havenhurst, and I think what sells the film more than anything is the cinematography, as the colorization is rich, and provides a nice palette against which to tell a moving story. Overall, Havenhurst is by no means a terrible film, it’s just not all that inspiring or memorable.
Release Date: February 10, 2017
Runtime: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Studio: Passion River
Starring: Julie Benz, Fionnula Flanagan, Belle Shouse
MPAA Rated: R
Directors: Andrew C. Erin
Reviewed by: Sarah Hopkins
Our Rating: 3.2 /5
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