In a typical ghost story, a family moves into a home and after a series of strange, unexplainable events, slowly discovers that they are being haunted by the dead. “Haunter” flips the tables on that scenario and shows it from the ghost’s point of view.
“Haunter” is the story of Lisa Johnson, an eternally 15 year old girl, one day shy of her 16th birthday, who keeps waking up to the same day over and over (reminded me a bit of the Bill Murray classic, “Groundhog Day” each time). The day always starts out the same – with her little brother, Robbie, calling out to her on a walkie talkie – and progresses through having the same lunch, same conversations and same dinner day after day. Lisa knows something is up, in fact, she has “awakened” to the fact that she, and all of her family, are, in fact, dead.
Told from the perspective of the awesome Abigail Breslin as Lisa, the story progresses smoothly as Lisa discovers what she is and what happened to her family. The only issue I had with the story was how quickly she put the pieces together on how to solve the problem at the end. I won’t say more, because I don’t believe in spoiling the story for everyone, especially for a movie that I think people should actually plan to watch, but suffice it to say that I felt the final “battle” seemed a bit too easy to get to. I am not sure what I would have done differently, and maybe if I watch it again I will change my mind but I really think something was a bit off with the ending.
While I may have been a bit underwhelmed at the final battle, I was very impressed at the way the movie handled time periods. When we watch Lisa, it is VERY apparent that we are watching a family in the the mid 1980’s. I guessed 1984-1985 at the beginning (hey, I lived through those years, I practically WAS Lisa Johnson – except for the dead part) just due to the “look” of the house/people. They nailed the 80’s time period. It didn’t hurt that Lisa’s room was decorated with a lot of music posters that I actually paused the movie to try to get a better look at. Or that she wore the same sweatshirt (Siouxsie and the Banshees) in practically every scene. When the movie cuts to the future/current time, it’s obvious that it’s nowadays simply by the colors/electronic gadgets used. I never felt that I had to guess the time period, and to me that made the movie even more likable.
In the end, I have to say that “Haunter” is a well done addition to the ghost story theme. I give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.