I recently watched "The Conjuring" for the first time and was very disappointed. Maybe it was because it was around Halloween and I'd just binged on horror movies, but I could not dismiss the movie's cliches the way other viewers/reviewers could. The bright spot about "Haunter" is that it actually tries to be original. One, it relies on the story and not cheap thrills for its effectiveness; there are very few graphic images. Two, it turns the table on traditional haunted house tales by making the ghosts the ones who are haunted.
Abigail Breslin very nicely plays Lisa, a girl who must constantly relive the day before her 16th birthday in her family home with her parents and little brother. Every day the four of them go through the same motions and engage in most of the same dialogue. Only Lisa seems to be aware of this. Still, she doesn't know what happened to cause it, or how to change it. During Lisa's quest to unlock the mystery, she discovers that she and her family are not alone in the house. Through her contact with "the other side" she manages to uncover the secrets the house holds and, despite dire warnings, sets out to free her family and break the cycle of haunting.
Because the movie wins points for originality and storytelling, I'm not docking it for its flaws of which there are many, but none that aren't typical of the genre. There are a lot of plot elements that don't make sense. I can't delve deeply into them without giving too much away. One issue is that the limits of what ghosts can and can't do and the plights that they're susceptible to are fluid throughout the movie. Basically, because of the film's pretty original premise, it was able to make its own rules; unfortunately, they're more penciled in than in ink.
There were also a few times when I wanted to fast forward. The audience is clued in very early on -- in the first 10 minutes -- to the key plot point. So then we, like Lisa and her family, are forced to go through the motions of reliving the same day over and over again.
The ending is anticlimactic and because of the overall shortage of shocking images, it does seem a little simplistic -- like more of a made-for-TV movie than one that was made for the theatres. But I did watch it on my TV so that worked out okay. I wasn't really ever "scared", although the movie is creepy at times. To me, "Haunter" is at its core about the art of crafting a good ghost story, and in my opinion, the art of good storytelling is what's been missing from most horror movies lately that have scared me, but have relied on special effects and graphic images to do so. It's a refreshing change of pace from the usual fare.