Abigail Breslin (August: Osage County) stars as Lisa, a teen who’s the only one in her happy family of four to notice that for some reason, they’re re-living the same foggy Sunday in the ’80s over and over and over and over. Keeping her forever 15, it’s a cyclical grind of missing laundry, Atari Pac-Man, meatloaf, Prokofiev and the “new” episode of Murder, She Wrote.
While Lisa understandably has become so, so bored by the same ol’ same ol’, the moment that a kink appears in the routine, she’s thrown for a loop. Suddenly, what she wanted to ditch has become her comfort blanket.
If the eventual explanation pales compared to the buildup, well, that’s to be entirely expected from a Twilight Zone-style tale stretched to a feature length. The Canadian pic comes close to sustaining itself for that time, thanks to a novel script by Brian King (Night Train) whose cleverness no doubt appealed to director Vincenzo Natali, he of such not-your-ordinary genre fare as 2009’s Splice and the 1997 cult classic Cube. The Blu-ray of Haunter includes Natali’s complete storyboards, which unfold at nearly an hour — proof of the thought and care the underrated filmmaker puts into his work. —Rod Lott
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