As the old adage goes: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Such is the case for Jackie; a recovering alcoholic that comes across the deal of a lifetime. If she’s able to stay sober and live an honest life, Jackie can stay in the beautiful HAVENHURST apartment building as long as she’d like–free of charge. The problem is: if you stray from the righteous path, you don’t just get evicted, you meet a terrible, awful, no good, very bad death.
HAVENHURST is the product of Andrew C. Erin and Executive Producer Mark Burg. You probably haven’t seen much else from Mr. Erin, but Mark Burg has served as Producer on many installments of one of horror’s most notorious franchises–SAW. I wouldn’t normally call attention to such things. After all, producers rarely leave a noticeable imprint on their projects, but HAVENHURST both looks and feels like a watered down SAW II. Maybe not in the traditional Jigsaw sense, but the entire film revolves around punishing folks that live in sin. More often than not, our victims meet their demise by way of elaborate room mechanics and dismemberment. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a copy cat, though. It’s certainly softer around the edges, and there will be no allegations of “torture porn” here.
The acting is respectable, the camera work isn’t particularly inventive but certainly serviceable, and the sound design is quite good. As alluded to earlier, there are even a few moments of gore that look pretty awesome–even if they do feel incredibly out of place. In fact, that’s the way a lot of HAVENHURST feels. It succeeds at nearly everything it attempts to do, but somehow comes off as uninspired and hollow. No matter how well it’s put together and how “neat” of a twist is thrown in at the end, it has the soul of a Lifetime movie, and that’s a shame.
Nevertheless, it remains an entertaining watch. Perfect for date night with a partner that isn’t quite as into horror as you are but likes to pretend from time to time. It’s worth a Red Box rental or VOD stream, but I’m not so sure that anyone will be running out to add this one to their personal DVD/BluRay collections.
HAVENHURST is available right now on VOD platforms.