Review: Harlow's Haunt
Director/Writer: Terry Jarrell
Production Company: Black Dog Filmz
Release Date: December 15, 2002
Country of Origin: United States
Filming Locations: Old Town, Kissimmee, Florida, USA
Sir Henry's Haunted Trail, Plant City, Florida, USA
Film Run Time: 130 minutes
Total Runtime: 144 minutes
An ancient evil stalks and claims the souls of those who have awakened its presence. Children playing with a Ouija board. as adults are now confronted with the consequences of dabbling in the occult and must now face the true essence of twisted evil on a Halloween reunion outing. Set in the backwoods of Central Florida, Harlow's Haunt leads you through a maze of treachery and deceit spanning the decades on this emotional and harrowing journey to the end -- or is it?
About The Director/Producer Terry Jarrell
Harlow's Haunt is a new independent horror movie from Black Dog Filmz. Located in central Florida, writer and cinematographer Terry Jarrell may have put together the next cult classic in the indie film world. With extensive experience in leading edge technology, aerial cinematography, specialized 360 degree cameras and advanced AI editing tools. He has done work on films, music videos, and commercial projects. He now has put his knowledge and experience into his creation that is Harlow's Haunt.
Don't be fooled by this micro budget indie film. This is one you need to see.
One of the big things I liked is that it has a dual time effect. Not that this is anything new to
films, but it is all about the placement. This film takes place in the mid 1920's and in the present day.
This film starts with a clip from the mid 1920's. This is really the building block that the rest of the story rests on so it can unfold. Haunted grounds, gypsies, cult activity, sacrifice, and a false sense of kindness are all very evident in the opening scene. This is also your first glimpse of Harlow Greer. The only thing you know about him is he’s clearly mentally unstable, a liar, cheat, and an all around bad person with secrets to hide. Would you trade a person's life for a cheap bottle of booze? Keep that in mind when you're working out your thoughts about Mr. Greer.
The film then shifts into the present day so the story can begin in real time. There is a long winded section of the film that shifts between five different friends in various settings. While it does take up a chunk of the film it is very necessary in my opinion and that is what makes it beautiful. You have 5 friends (should have been 6) that equal two couples and a third wheel with her ex boyfriend missing from the group. There is drama, tension, regret, and some heartfelt moments that truly tie it all together. There is even a marriage proposal in the mix. Also, you find out that one of the characters had lost both parents unexpectedly without much more explanation. It is brought up a bunch of times so it will be significant at some point.
You're roughly an hour into the film. It is semi slow moving up to this point. The speed was in my opinion meticulously planned to perfection. It is like peeling layers of an onion. There is a ton of backstory up to this point, both past a present. Each layer of the story compliments the previous one and sets you up for the next. There are also a few other flashbacks to the 1920's era where the films opening scene took place.
Finally, we get to Harlow's Haunt. This is where the speed picks up and some of the backstories get some clarity. Not all questions are answered though. Harlow's Haunt is a haunted attraction. It looks about as sketchy as they come. I would absolutely go to this type of attraction. Without spoiling anything, since it would not do the movie justice, the friends (some of them) find that usage of the Ouija board at a young age is finally catching up to them, and it is bringing their other friends into it. They make their descent into Harlow’s Haunt. There are some pretty wild scenes here. This is also where things go from bad to worse. They even run into a blast from the past (way past). After the final exit out of the haunt there is definitely an OMG moment. This leaves you with not only remnants of some of the questions you picked up along the way, but even more intense questions to be answered. You are, however, in luck. The second installment of this film will answer a lot of what is on your mind. YES …. There will be a part two.
I really liked this film overall. It gives you a very creepy and uneasy vibe. I will say this, to the indie film fans this one will really keep you going. If you are not an indie fan this one could change your mind. I like the duel time lines in the movie as well. You have to understand the past to make sense of the future. There are multiple dense backstories to follow. It isn’t an overload of information, but enough to keep you aware of all of it. The storyline has some dips and turns to keep things going like any good horror film should. At the end there is a rise of anxiety while watching and you think it will just level out to a closing. That is not the case here. It takes a massive dive into something you would have not expected. You will also witness one of the greatest female screams in horror. It's that blood curling, glass breaking, rattle your bones type of scream. With all of that and some solid practical effects and crafty camera work this is a top tier indie film in my opinion.
As stated this is a movie that you have to sit down and really pay attention to get reap the full experience. Something else that was very notable was the emotional connection you start to create. This movie leaves you feeling odd. You start to put yourself in the story and in a way feel what the characters feel. At that point it is an emotional rollercoaster. I will also say that I noticed something new every time I watched this film. There is a replay value to this that adds to the previous viewing.
Below you will find the link to purchase your copy of Harlow's Haunt. It is also available on multiple streaming services.
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