The feature will make its world premiere as the opening night film of the Popcorn Frights Festival.
Haunt (out Sept. 13) is the new movie from writer-directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods — who cowrote A Quiet Place with director John Krasinski — and concerns a group of friends who an encounter an “extreme” haunted house where the pretend terrors turn out to be all too real.
“Haunt is about going inside a haunted house, and unfortunately there happen to be psychopaths inside,” says Beck.
“Our main girl is Harper who’s played by Katie Stevens,” says Woods. “She is probably best known for her TV work, she’s one of the stars of The Bold Type and Faking It. Her character is this young woman who’s in this horrifyingly abusive relationship. It all comes to a head on the week leading up to Halloween. The whole idea is, like, Can I just let go, and have a good night, and move past this? All the while, we think that her ex- is following her, stalking her. We’re trying to merge this character story with kind of slasher tropes.”
The pair shot the film in Cincinnati.
“The shoot was incredible because, first and foremost, with our production designer, and our art direction team, we were able to build our own haunted house, that had functioning gags,” says Beck. “That was like being in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, getting to roam around these extravagant incredible sets. Beyond that, we got to actually film over Halloween, which led to this incredible camaraderie of everyone just wanting to enjoy the season, and throw all of that fun energy of what Halloween season really is into the movie.”
EW can exclusively reveal that Haunt will make its world premiere as the opening night film of Popcorn Frights, the genre film festival, which takes place at Savor Cinema, Fort Lauderdale, FL., Aug. 8-16.
“It’s a festival we’ve been hearing about from horror fans for a long long time,” says Beck. “We have a lot of peers who have had amazing experiences at that festival, it’s got such a loyal robust core audience that goes there every year, so for us, it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to watch the film and be a part of that event.”
EW can also reveal the Popcorn Frights’ first wave of programming includes the world premiere of The Dare, about four abducted strangers forced to solve a puzzle, or die; the North American premiere of the Rutger Hauer-starring The Sonata; Larry Fessenden’s modern-day Frankenstein retelling, Depraved; Joe Begos’ deranged 16mm bloodbath Bliss; Adam Egypt Mortimer’s brain-twisting Daniel Isn’t Real; Chelsea Stardust’s Satanic Panic; and Peter Strickland’s In Fabric. The festival’s closing night film is Bit, about a transgender teenage girl on summer vacation in Los Angeles and her fight for survival after she falls in with four queer feminist vampires. More details about the event can be found at the Popcorn Frights website.
Haunt is released in theaters, and on demand and digital HD, Sept. 13. See exclusive images from the film, below.