When I moved into my current apartment I noticed something. There were small access doors at the back of two of the closets for getting in at some of the plumbing. After watching Havenhurst I made sure they had several heavy boxes up against them.
Jackie (Julie Benz, Dexter) a recovering alcoholic who lost her daughter has just been released from rehab and her counselor has gotten her a place to stay in Havenhurst. Its a beautiful old apartment building run by Eleanor (Fionnula Flanagan, Trash Fire, The Others). The rules are simple, you pay what you can afford and are welcome to stay as long as you lead a decent, clean life. Relapse and you get evicted.
While trying to get her life together Jackie is also trying to track down a friend from rehab. Danielle (Danielle Harris, Inoperable, Between The Darkness) who disappeared shortly after moving into Havenhurst. After another friend vanishes she becomes convinced that something evil is going on in the building. Aided by a police detective (Josh Stamberg, Dark Skies) and Sarah (Belle Shouse, A Million Ways To Die In The West) an abused foster child she digs into the building’s history. And finds more than she bargained for.
As you can guess, Havenhurst isn’t the most original film you’ll see this year. But director Andrew C. Erin (Final Sale) and co-writer Daniel Farrands (The Haunting of Sharon Tate, The Amityville Murders) bring their considerable experience in genre film to bear. They’ve crafted an effectively tense and creepy version of a familiar plot. They do manage to work a few good twists in especially concerning the origins of the killings. But a lot will be familiar to genre fans. There are elements from everything from Blood and Lace to Tobe Hooper’s version of The Toolbox Murders thrown into the mix.
Havenurst also deserves praise for not holding back on the gore. There are several scenes that deliver in that department. And with more and more films skimping on the effects, this was a welcome change. That may sound like faint praise to some but it’ll certainly satisfy fans.
What won’t satisfy many of them, however, is Danielle Harris getting top billing for what is basically a cameo. That kind of stunt billing is annoying as hell. It’s gotten to the point where there are some actors, (Danny Trejo comes to mind) that I automatically disregard when I see their name on a DVD cover unless I know they have a substantial role.
Havenhurst is available via streaming and DVD