To be honest I was a little unfair toward this movie the first time I saw it with my friends. I wasn't paying attention because we were making fun of it the whole way through. Yesterday i saw it again and paid alot of attention and it improved my opinion of it, slightly.
A real turn down is I felt like I’d seen it 100 times before in other films. Ghosts come. They haunt the living. The living fight back. Ho hum. That being said, Peter Cromwell’s film has an edge in that it’s (allegedly) based on a true story (Amityville Horror anyone?). Add to that seasoned performers like Virginia Madsen and Elias Koteas, creepy ghosts and a jolt factor, and you might find it enjoyable.
Take a middle-class Christian family and put them in a former funeral parlor turned seemingly quaint Victorian home in the country and what do you have? A lesson for one: always get a little history on the home you’re renting, especially if it’s cheap and the first month is free. Despite it’s somewhat Swiss cheese plot, The Haunting in Connecticut takes us on mysterious journey through the past and present, and attempts to keep its promise to frighten us along the way.
Living in New York, the Campbell family is dealing with teenage son Matt’s battle with cancer. When long trips to and from the clinic in Connecticut become unbearable, Matt’s mom Sara rents a house in Connecticut. Since the family’s struggling financially with high cost of medical treatment, it’s a good (and weird) thing the house is such a great bargain.From the first night they set foot in it however, Matt begins to see things – Sara mopping up blood that isn’t really there, plates moving around in the kitchen. Chalking it up to side effects from his cancer treatment, the family tries to comfort Matt, even as his behavior toward them becomes increasingly hostile. Kyle Gallner’s performance as Matt in The Haunting in Connecticut, by the way is fantastic, considering he has had no real experience in movies. He alternates from vulnerable and weak, to intense and half-crazed.
As it turns out the real estate agent had neglected to fully disclose to the Campbells that their new house had been a funeral parlor in the early 1900’s complete with a mortuary in the basement, and a group of undead that won’t leave. Facing the possibility of death himself, Matt seems to be the easiest prey for the ghosts, especially Jonah, the young clairvoyant who once communicated with the dead and now has a message for the living.
This is where the Swiss cheese part comes in.
As if life-threatening illness isn’t stressful enough on a teenage boy, one would think when you realize your rented “extra” house is haunted (other family members start to see ghosts as well) you would simply pick up and go home. But no. Sara decides the family will endure the ghosts, as well as the violent outbursts of her alcoholic husband (who wouldn’t go back to drinking?)
Why the ghosts? It seems this house was no ordinary funeral parlor. In fact its former occupants not only embalmed the dead, they held séances for their loved ones to communicate with them. Imagine the Campbell kids’ horror when they uncover century-old mementos like a box full of decrepit eyelids. Yes there was a little more than meets they eye (so to speak) with the former inhabitants, and finding out the truth is the Campbell’s’ only way out (other than walking out the front door but they’re not doing that).
The ghosts in The Haunting in Connecticut are quite disturbing, with prayer verses etched into their bleeding skin, and ectoplasm (slime) spewing from their mouths. To find out more about them and why they’re so peeved, Matt and his young aunt Wendy go to the local library where they turn up all sorts of macabre stories about the house and the family that lived there. Armed with this knowledge and the help of Matt’s fellow cancer patient, Reverend Popescu, the Campbells are ready for an exorcism…
Then the film ends in a complete rip off to the Amytiville Horror.
Suprisingly there are good points to this flick. The acting from Matt and his mother is amazing. The young aunt and childern were believable. However te father was...dreadful. Another thing that caught my eye was that alot of the events stayed true to the real story. Note that I say the "events" were true to the story...but not the actual plot.
There were alot of bad points to this flick...mainly plagiarism. Seriously, i picked out so many movies in which this film stole from. The basic plot is a copy cat of The Amityville Horror. Young couple find perfect house at an affordable price that has a sinister past and has devistating effects on a family member. Then the whole part where they investage the history of the house is almost identical to the TAH remake, where the mother researches her houses past. And then the ending, when he comes dashing through the house with an axe in his hand, and we presume he is gonna kill his family but turns out he is just cutting the walls down (go figure) This is identical in TAH when the father comes dashing through the house (with an axe...mmm) trying to kill his family. Another movie that was stolen from was the Exorcist. Mainly in the way the family tries to blame the haunting on their sons health condition like in the Exorcist the mother blames her daughters behaviour on her mental condition. Oh and the priest in this movie dresses exactly like the one in The Ex. (hat and everthing!!). The whole senario with the photos of the dead people was taken from The Others.
This film relied on alot of "jump scenes" to scare the audiance. There are around ten and it gets extremely repetitive after a while. It also relied on the "we think it real but turns out to be a dream" cliche...ALOT!!!
All in all this film deserves a 5/10 because i'm biased towards true stories and the great acting was quite a suprise.