UK Haunters is a new documentary by filmmaker Dan Brownlie. It’s a whistle-stop tour of the UK scare scene which serves as a nice introduction to some industry big hitters, while still shining a spotlight on some up-and-coming names and projects.
Right off the bat, it’s worth addressing the title, and any confusion around terminology used in the film as opposed to what you’ll read here. While the word haunt is commonly used to describe a live horror attraction, many in the UK have adopted the word ‘scare’ or ‘scare attraction’ in its place. This is because many believe the word ‘haunt’ conveys a supernatural element, which not all attractions utilise. It also serves as a handy way to set us apart from our friends across the pond. Thus, ‘haunt’ and ‘haunter’ become ‘scare’ and ‘scare actor’. The terms are interchangeable of course, but it’s worthy of note.
The many successes and nuances of the UK scare scene are showcased in this documentary with earnest enthusiasm; it celebrates the variety and originality of what the UK has to offer without bias or agenda. Anyone invested or involved in the UK scene will undoubtedly get a kick of out seeing our home-grown industry represented on this platform in such an affirmative and engaging manner. Also, given the fact that the UK scene remains fairly close-knit as a community, chances are you’ll spot a friend or acquaintance at some point while watching this, and that’s guaranteed to make you smile.
Dan’s passion for the subject is his greatest strength here, but arguably it’s a weakness too. His handling of the material is akin to someone who has just discovered a new and fascinating gadget, and is somewhat in awe of it; fervently experimenting with its individual features without stepping back to appreciate its overall purpose. An in-depth look at the components rather than an exploration of the product as a whole. Dan is very keen to show us what he’s found, but the danger here is the creation of a moving listicle, or worse, a series of adverts. The documentary is peppered with interviews and spotlights on various people and attractions, but there’s no connecting story or theme. For example, the history of UK industry – its roots, influences and evolution – is a story I would love to see. Perhaps this is something yet to be explored.
Despite the aforementioned compartmentalisation, the documentary takes great care to give everyone their moment and commend what they do. We all have the means to lift people up – it’s an important tool at everyone’s disposal – and UK Haunters does this wholeheartedly. It’s a defining moment for the industry and something which everyone involved should be proud of. We look forward to seeing more from Dan in the future.
- UK Haunters will receive its official world premiere at Horrorhound Festival Indianapolis in September 2019
- A special UK pre-festival screening will be held on Saturday 31st August 2019 at 7pm
- This will be held at Mexborough Business Centre and will feature a Q&A with creator Dan Brownlie
- Tickets for this are only £2 – book through Faceless Ventures here