The Halloween Horror Maze That Can Kill You in ‘Haunt’

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, Knott’s Scary Farm and all sorts of local Halloween attractions are about to open for the season. The new horror film Haunt beats them to the punch this Friday and if it does its job, it might scare you out of attending any real life haunted house this Halloween. In Haunt, from A Quiet Place writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods , this haunted house is really trying to kill you.

Woods and Beck spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Friday about their newest horror movie. If you’re still waiting for A Quiet Place 2, that’s coming in the spring. Haunt will tide you over until then when it opens in theaters Friday, September 13.

‘Haunt’ plays with the rules of Halloween haunted houses

When you go to a public Halloween attraction, you know there are rules. The performers are not allowed to touch you, so as loud or as close as they get, you’re safe. Haunt knows you believe that.

Andrew Caldwell as Evan and Katie Stevens as Harper in the horror / thriller HAUNT | Momentum Pictures.

“Scott and I grew up in the midwest. We would go to these haunted houses and it was so fun but it also was terrifying because you’d go into the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a forest. There’d be some abandoned factory building or a dilapidated church in the middle of a forest that somebody would convert into a haunted house. At a certain point I realized, that’s scary. We’re really vulnerable and really giving ourselves over to a situation that could escalate in a terrifying way which which was certainly one of the inspirations for Haunt.”

Bryan Woods, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 9/6/19

Your cell phones can’t save you in ‘Haunt’

Since the Halloween attraction in Haunt is up to no good, they also confiscate their victims’ cell phones. If you ever attend a Halloween haunt where they take your cell phone, maybe visit a different one.

An image from the horror/thriller HAUNT | Momentum Pictures

“In the day and age we live in, it’s getting harder and harder to write a horror film because 99 out of 100 horror movies could begin and end with somebody taking out a cell phone and calling the police,” Woods said. “We thought we wanted to come up with a clever way to dispose of an easy way out.”

Finding your cell phone won’t save you in Haunt either.

The haunted house took their cell phones, but once people start dying for real, of course the first thought is to find the cell phones. Woods and Beck wanted to toy with them, and the viewers, even more.

“Having said that, we didn’t want to just take the phones out of the movie and put a pin on it,” Woods continued. “Real life is messier than that, so the phones in the movie become a beacon of hope for our characters, that if they can just get back to the phone, they could get out of here so the phones become a big subplot.”

‘Haunt’ is like a Halloween version of ‘The Game’

In The Game, Michael Douglas never knew if what was happening was real or the game his brother paid for. Haunt was inspired to be a Halloween version of The Game.

“One of the reference points was earlier in the process was David Fincher’s The Game,” Beck said. “It really upends your perception of reality and where things are blurring the line in terms of good or bad and whether you’re safe or whether you’re putting yourself in an incredibly vulnerable situation.”

Will Brittain as Nathan from the horror / thriller HAUNT | Momentum Pictures.

The cell phones play into that. If you think you’re going to call for help, they laready thought of that. 

“We use the phones as an example too of a larger thing we were trying to play with the audience,” Beck said. “When they have to dispose of the phones, they’re giving a lure of keep in mind they’re given the key to that lockbox where you have to store the phones. Throughout writing Haunt and directing it, we loved playing with the audience expectations of are we in a good situation or are we in a bad situation?”