Reel Shorts | The Haunting in Connecticut

26 03 2009

Three decades after demonic forces brought the horror to a family in Amityville, evil spirits rear their ugly heads once again terrorizing them and amusing audiences in the common-sense deprived thriller, “The Haunting in Connecticut.”

Supposedly based on a true story, the film centers on a loving mother, Sara Campbell (Virginia Madsen) caring for her cancer-ridden teenage son, Matt (Kyle Gallner). Living in another state and commuting for Matt’s treatment, the family decides to relocate closer so that he can participate in a special cancer trials. While searching for a house, Sara stumbles on a spacious home that is too good to be true that also harbors a deep, dark secret.

Click on the image above to watch “The Haunting in Connecticut” trailer.

Electing to setup his bedroom in the basement of the house, it doesn’t take Matt long before “he starts seeing dead people. Told by his doctor that his treatment would cause him side effects, he doesn’t know if the “visions” are because of his medicine or is the house! Slowly but surely, Matt begins to descend into his own personal hell unafraid to reveal the bizarre dreams and visions he’s having for fear that he will kicked out of the cancer trials.

Ultimately, he opens up to a fellow patient who just happens to be a Reverend who explains to Matt that his proximity to death makes him and others like him more receptive to experiencing strange supernatural occurrences. “When you’re in “the valley of death, you should fear no evil!,” Reverend Popescu (Elias Koteas) tells the frightened Matt. As his life spirals more and more out of control, Matt must find out the origins of the horror and save himself and his family before it is too late.

For the most part director Peter Cornwell keeps the proceedings and it’s tone rooted in a semblance of reality. One of the film’s major problems is not the Cornwell’s direction but the screenplay itself that liberties with common sense in order to tell the story. Why would someone who is having nightmares about strange behavior in the basement decided to setup his bedroom there? Why were some other obvious warning signs ignored? Why did the family choose to stay in the home when they discovered it’s earlier identity?

With those questions and others hanging over their heads, you almost feel like they deserved all of the bizarre treatment they received. In order to elevate the status of his film and cement the families experiences in our mind, Cornwell randomly samples from some of the most memorable scenes in horror history literally borrowing from films such as “The Exorcist,” “The Shining,” “Psycho” and “The Sixth Sense.” Instead of amping up the tension, the scenes instead remind of you of much better movies than the one you unfortunately had to watch.

Even the finale is a stretch rushing headlong to an abrupt and much needed conclusion. While “The Haunting in Connecticut” occupies familiar territory, it lacks the true imagination, creativity and spirit of it’s much heralded predecesors. The only thing scary about the film was the delight that the audience had in mocking it’s pretentious story and the family’s ridiculous actions. The moral of the story can best be summed up by Eddie Murphy who once said, “if there’s a ghost in the house, get the f–k out!

Grade: D+

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12 responses

26 03 2009

But Tim, there would be no movie if the family just left.

When the word “Ectoplasism” is said, I was like, this all of a sudden turned into “Ghostbusters”? Apparently this was the highest test screened review in the history of Lionsgate, but that isn’t saying much with their track record. Too many people were laughing last night, that says something.

Sad thing, it will make it’s money back opening weekend.

26 03 2009

Unfortunately, I was one of them especially when they recreated the famous scene from “The Exorcist.”

It will make it’s money back but that’s not saying much; horror movies are always made with modest budgets and are usually profitable.

29 03 2009
Eric W

Well its hard to get the ef out of a house when you have a sick kid (fighting cancer is expensive), lease agreement, and virtually no money. Large amounts of people in the showing that i saw, screamed every scary scene. so it was effective on us. yeah the kids were kinda overly brave, but part of me was glad to see what was around the corner.

Last of all, for what its worth, the movie was based on true events.

30 03 2009

This was a terrible film. Total nonsense.

30 03 2009

=This movie kind of sucked

2 04 2009

is was a good movie i think they just kinda hyped it up with that base on a true story BS but other than that it wasn’t that bad of a flick

3 04 2009

Best horror movie i saw in a long time..goodstory..and the scary parts were good

4 04 2009

I disagree with your point that it has no common sense involved. Because we get the whole story of the family it shows you why they have to stay there and why most of the problems are ignored but i suppose why the boy sets up his room there we won’t know, probably just curiosity. I don’t think that i thought they deserved this whilst watching and although it isn’t the perfect film i really liked this film, as it had the horror and some actually emotion involved.

9 04 2009

Hey all,

To be honest I was intrigued when trailers startedto appear for this film while at the same time cringing, knowing how overdone Hollywood would probably make it. This story appeared as the pilot episode of the Discovery Channel’s “A Haunting” series which is pretty compelling even if a bit sensational in parts. It seems this interpretation left some stuff out. In response to the valid questions asked of this film, Discovery did address them:

Why would someone who is having nightmares about strange behavior in the basement decided to setup his bedroom there? Over time Matt isolated himself out of anger and frustration from his parents’ denial and disbelief of the house’s haunting. He was also being isolated by the demon entity in the basement who was having more and more influence over his thoughts and actions

Why were some other obvious warning signs ignored? Why did the family choose to stay in the home when they discovered it’s earlier identity? The family was desparate to be closer to the hospital where Matt was being treated for cancer (experimental treatment), and hadn’t found many if any other places to rent, this rent was cheap too (beware: ifit seems to good to be true itlikely is). They had put all of their money into Matt’s treatments and the 8 hour commute and now rent for the this house. They had nowhere else to go and were therefore determined to make it work at all costs. The Discovery seroes though would probably make you just as annoyed at the parents for refusing to believe all of their children and then initially forcing the 2 sons to sleep in the basement depite their protests, even going as far as taking out the lightbulbs in the basement because ofthe electric bills that grew since the children started to sleep with the lights on!

Note too that Doscovery’s version explicitly states that the doctors DO NOT attribute hallucinations due to the cancer treatments, as the movie seems to imply the opposite.

Check out Dicovery’s “A Haunting in Connecticut” Google it, it’s worth it, done probably more subtley than the movie it still sticks with me. I cannot seem to really watch that series without being disturbed esp when i think about it at night.

This gives a perfect summary of the Discovery Channel’s “A Haunting…”

Thanks for reading!

25 05 2009

hey uhm, i haent watched this movie yet, but im going to toay (:

25 05 2009

great movie.

20 08 2009

awesome movie! scared me a bit… ok alot…. made my mom scream. dad fell asleep. But i dont know how people could laugh in the middle of that movie. o_o

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