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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

'Havenhurst' Theatrical/VOD: Rent-Controlled New York Apartment House of Horrors

Brainstorm Media and Twisted Pictures artfully blend suspense, grindhouse, and historical drama in the new film "Havenhurst." This flick with something for everyone opens at the Laemmie Music Hall in Los Angeles and theaters in a handful of other cities on February 10, 2017. Folks who cannot see it on the big screen can check it out on a VOD platform from the comfort of their own home. Folks who want a copy of their very own can buy "Havenhurst" on DVD beginning March 7, 2017.

The following YouTube clip of the highly atmospheric trailer for "Havenhurst" achieves its purpose of previewing the themes and the style of the film. It also makes a good case for seeing the film in a theater.

Penthouse-dwelling landlady Eleanor Mudget makes apartments in the titular well-maintained titular pre-war New York building available to recovering alcoholics and drug addicts for affordable rents. The catch is that the slightest infraction of the rules results in an extremely harsh form of eviction. Fionnula Flanagan, who is best known as Eloise Widmore on the ABC drama "Lost," does a great job playing Mudget.

The opening scene has tenant Danielle witness horrific carnage in her abode only to soon be violently dragged off kicking and screaming. The drama and the action fully kick in on Danielle's rehab buddy Jackie moving into that recently (and abruptly) vacated apartment. Darla of "Buffy" and "Angel" and Rita of "Dexter" actress Julie Benz puts her quirky drama skills to good use in this role.

Jackie already is suspicious regarding Danielle disappearing without a trace. Finding mounting evidence of foul play on moving in puts this girl detective into full Nancy Drew mode.

Jackie suspecting the why and discovering the how only takes her so far. Learning that the house is connected to a moderately well-known actual serial killer (who is the subject of an awesome historical novel) is awesome enough. The manner in which this occurs fits well into the real-life lore of this big bad.

Writer/director/producer Andrew C. Erin does a good job keeping the suspense and the scarescoming. There also are enough bloody attacks, dismembered bodies, and captives to satisfy fans of gore.

The final scenes provide good payback in the form of Danielle fully being a damsel in distress, the law starting to (not necessarily successfully) close in, and Eleanor having a special family moment. They also scream (no pun intended) for a sequel.

All of this works because even non-New Yorkers know of the lengths to which people will go to obtain desirable affordable housing in that city, and horror directors realize the effectiveness of the Hitchcock method of moving the horror from the haunted house on the hill to the everyday existence of the terrorized.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Havenhurst" is encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.