Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama, Urban, Independent
Year Released: 2022
Runtime: 1h 20m
Director(s): Robin Givens, Raven Magwood
Writer(s): Raven Magwood, Paul Lindsay
Cast: Desi Banks, Reggie Couz, Marquise C. Brown, Brook Sill, Raven Magwood, Matt William Knowles, Anna Perdun, Grace Perdun
Where To Watch: Available on demand on September 27
RAVING REVIEW: A better version of HELL FEST in every possible way, but still missing a few pieces.
While the movie is far from perfect, it takes the haunted house genre and does it well. I will forever remember one of my lowest-rated films on Letterboxd; I was so excited for HELL FEST, and yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more “produced” haunted house movie. It honestly took me out of the situation entirely. Thankfully, HAUNTED TRAIL puts us smack in the middle of a real “haunt,” as somewhat of a haunted house enthusiast; I appreciate the care taken to recreate a real-world experience.
You can tell that director Robin Givens (BOOMERANG, RIVERDALE) knows that an audience prefers an authentic experience. No average haunted house is a polished finished product; the recreation here adds to the look and feel of the movie. There are a lot of polar opposite reviews so far, and most people seem to either love the experience or claim it's the “worst thing ever.” I tend to think those hating on the film are likely driven by factors other than the movie itself.
I mentioned the film was missing a few pieces, and that’s true; I enjoyed the experience, but some repetitiveness and predictability took a little something away from the viewing. As a whole, the casting for the film was great, you had most of the cliched players, but I would’ve liked to have seen a little less focus on the film's comedic aspects.
The modernization of the story was a welcome one; bringing in things like the photo opp in the middle of the haunt was fun and creative. Although I would’ve liked to see a little more creativity with the “bad guy,” his mask felt almost too familiar, it took away some of the intimidation factors. Although, to be fair, a new mask that is frightening is a hard thing to accomplish; even big-budget films miss this.
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