Lisa believes she is being haunted by a young girl named Olivia. But, we slowly find out that the truth is actually reversed: Lisa is actually dead and stuck on the same day in 1985. Olivia is alive in the present day with her family. With Olivia's help, Lisa finds out that the house used to be owned by a serial killer who kidnapped teenage girls and buried them in the furnace room. When he died he became a Haunter and never left the house. Lisa must get rid of the haunter to save the lives of the family now currently living in the house. You will find out that it is very difficult to "tide up" all the loose ends in this type of a story, and have everything working logically... if you start analysing! My suggestion is - don't do that! Appreciate the unusual, refreshing take on a typical scary story with a few twists in-between. It will never completely lose your interest with its edgy, enigmatic feel perfectly combined in the mystery without any gore.
Casting Abigail Breslin was the right decision to make - she is definitely a real star, and shows outstanding performing abilities in any situation. If you really like suspense, mystery, good scares, a music perfectly combined with the theme and every scene, please, check this one out. Don't think too much, just quietly sit at the edge of your chair with few jumps in between the scenes from the excitement... and let your heart bits as fast as it wants!
Natali is a director that cares about crafting unique experiences. He has a strong eye for visual storytelling, and he works well with the art department. Very early on Natali gets you acquainted to the universe, but he doesn't spell anything out. Through repetition and creative plotting, Natali gives the audience all the information they need to figure out the puzzle alongside Breslin.
It's not without its problems. It can be a little silly, and the end doesn't really hold up to scrutiny. But the film is an enjoyable journey into the horror genre, and a satisfying follow up to Natali's last film.
The core concept is just remarkably satisfying to see untangle. Some non-concept and conceptual brethren films are easy to spot within both the script and general visual aesthetic, ranging from Triangle to Inception to Insidious.
I guess I can see why people would rate this poorly; the deeper you get, the hazier the plot points become. For me, however, it is an acceptable level of haziness. It's kind of incredible that the plot remains as coherent as it does.
While a ghost story, Haunter turns the typical haunting and turns it on its head. (I don't think the mirror motif that runs throughout this is accidental.) Abigail Breslin plays a dead girl caught in a day-long loop. You could point to Groundhog Day as the boring comparison here, though other movies have made use of the concept (especially in the horror genre) that points closer to Haunter's tone (the aforementioned Triangle, Salvage, probably others).
But what all of those movies lack is showcasing a haunting from the viewpoint of a ghost. But Casper this ain't. Haunter shows a really creepy version of death that does about as good of a job depicting the "life" and thought processes of a ghost as anything I can imagine.
Of course, such grandeur comes with a big caveat. For a horror film, Haunter is going to lack the scares that most people look for in horror. Oh, it tries to stir some sense of horror within the viewer by nailing the atmosphere and dishing up some nice jump-scares. But we all know that neither of those things truly delivers what horror fans of 2014 look for in a horror experience.
I'm willing to give it a pass on that, though, largely because the concept--and execution of it--really struck a chord with me.
I did not expect to feel frightened for someone who is already dead, and was curious how Haunter would manage it. Now I know! Really pleasing, though it's too bad Natali didn't take a little more time with the ending. Such careful use was made of setting elements and time periods and teeny tiny changes in dialogue that I would have liked to see what the full plot progression could have looked like without any dei ex machina.