Haven­hurst

The Sun (Malaysia) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

JACKIE (Benz) is an al­co­holic. Af­ter be­ing re­leased from re­hab, she goes to find her friend, Danielle (Danielle Har­ris).

Her search leads her to a gothic apart­ment com­plex, where Eleanor (Flana­gan) houses re­formed ad­dicts, giv­ing them a new lease on life.

But there is one car­di­nal rule: never fall back on your old vices. Or else.

The movie is filled with ten­sion and dread from the start, and it tries to hold this mood till the end, much to its own detri­ment.

Af­ter the first 15 min­utes, the scares be­come rou­tine, and that is where the flaws be­gin to show.

It does not help that Jackie makes bad de­ci­sions. When ad­vised to take the op­tion that any­one with an ounce of com­mon sense would clearly choose, she does some­thing else.

I don’t feel that Haven­hurst, the apart­ment build­ing run by Eleanor, is all that bad ei­ther. It of­fers for­mer delin­quents a com­fort­able home and a sec­ond chance that they would never get else­where.

Still the movie tries its best to por­tray Haven­hurst as evil by plant­ing in­trigu­ing mys­ter­ies that go nowhere.

The one car­di­nal rule does not seem that un­fair ei­ther, al­though the con­se­quences are a lit­tle ex­treme.

By the half­way mark, the au­di­ence is in­ti­mately fa­mil­iar with Benz’s ev­ery fa­cial ex­pres­sion as her face takes up most of the screen, while she breathily de­liv­ers her ev­ery line. For me, it is just lazy cin­e­matog­ra­phy.

In the end, it feels like the movie can­not make up its mind on what it wants to be. It falls short of be­ing a good mys­tery, the threat is not all that evil, and the vi­o­lence sparse.

This is not to say that Haven­hurst has no po­ten­tial. It is there, hid­den is within its ever-chang­ing walls and hid­den halls but, un­for­tu­nately, its de­liv­ery is only on par with a made­for-TV movie.

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