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I'm sure it helped that I was in the right mood and the right
atmosphere when I saw this movie at a midnight screening at South by
Southwest, but The Haunting in Connecticut was a horror movie that
really struck a chord with me.
I'm a longtime fan of this genre, getting acquainted with all the old classics and cult films through USA Saturday Night Horror when I was young, and continuing to see and love newer ones, such as The Ring, throughout college. However, when I go on a rant about the current state of horror movies, I tell people that today's movies make you heighten your sense of disbelief too much in order to be scared I call it "fantasy horror." There aren't enough movies like The Exorcist anymore where it absolutely feels real, like something that has always existed but you've just been lucky enough to avoid.
I loved The Haunting in Connecticut, because it is much closer to reality horror than fantasy, and I suppose that's because it's based on a true story. It just doesn't feel like it came straight out of someone's imagination. It was the kind of movie where, not only did I find myself wondering about the true story of the Snedeker family, but when I went to sleep that night, I couldn't help pondering the history of my own home and its previous tenants. If you're the type of person who loves horror movies, I assume that's the exact creepy way you want them to resonate.
Besides the background story, one of the other reasons I think this movie worked was because of the performance of Kyle Gallner. This young man plays a much more complex (and believable) protagonist than most of the ones I've seen in horror films lately, as his character, Matt, has a very familiar (and scary in its own right) disease that makes him question whether the haunting is real, or a symptom of his sickness. I venture to say that his character could have made an interesting movie even BEFORE the paranormal activity starts, but Gallner was exceptional in this role, and I think we'll still be talking about "the boy in The Haunting in Connecticut," 10 years from now.
So for true horror movie fans, I definitely recommend checking this one out. Sometimes there's nothing wrong with a horror movie based completely in fantasyland, like Nightmare on Elm Street, but the creepiest horror usually has a dose of reality. This film will scare you, it will make you think and it will leave a lasting impression.
I really did hesitate to see this movie because I had not seen many
that have interested me since the days of Poltergeist - one exception
being The Exorcism of Emily Rose. I loved both despite the obvious
difference in style.
I found The Haunting In Connecticut disturbingly fun. It definitely had its own style which at times made me wonder when the signs of it bombing were going to appear. I think that was part of why I enjoyed it because it never did disappoint me. This mixture of reality and the supernatural kept me on the edge of my seat. Was it the trauma of cancer causing so much grief for this family or the chilling(yet burning), hidden secrets of the dead in this funeral home that kept expectations from settling on one aspect or the other? The fact is both were enough to draw attention away from the other while we try to make our own conclusions.
An innocent, everyday family deals with the possible, yet probable death of young Matt, who at times suffers excruciatingly from dealing with the unknown and death that he is convinced is his destiny. Squeezed between what is and may be real was enough, but then deal with the likes of a stranger who claims to be a reverend...c'mon, this is classic stuff. You can't take all this in without suffering a little, especially when the family itself starts to fall apart when they need to stick together.
While there are some questions that may not be answered, the story itself was more than satisfying. Special effects were kept to a minimum but used effectively and when needed. Acting was not Oscar worthy but good enough to make it all seem real. Fun when you want it and scary when you need it.
It's definitely a 7/10
People love a good ghost story, I know I do. Especially when it's said
to be based on actual events. I think that makes it scarier, brings it
closer to home. There have been a number of films like this that have
partially or sometimes even completely succeeded. The 1979 version of
'The Amityville Horror' is no masterpiece, but is not lacking in good
chills and real characters to root for and identify with. Same goes
with the 1991 TV movie 'The Haunted.' Even 'Poltergeist,' which isn't
based on a true case, is very real in it's characters and situations.
Lately though, movies about ghosts and haunted dwellings have been mediocre at best. Using a lot of the exact same ways to scare the audience that have gotten beyond tiresome. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with a good jump scare here and there, but when you start to rely on them you lose credibility and the audience will likely lose interest. This latest addition isn't much different, but it does try to rise above that. It's an admirable attempt and not a total waste of ones time, but it just doesn't go quite far enough.
Pros: A fine cast that gives it's all. A good horror score that gives the fright scenes the extra oomph they need. Nice, crisp cinematography. Excellent work on the make-up and visual effects. Some really scary images. Though not as good as the films I mentioned above, this one is still pretty grounded in reality. The pace is slow, but steady and never drags. The house is eerie and a perfect location for a haunted house.
Cons: Clichés galore. Most of the scares are far too tame to have any big affect. Some of the dialogue, especially for Elias Koteas, is poor and makes the actors look bad. No real surprises. Too many underdeveloped characters.
Final thoughts: Worth a rental, but not the big bucks you pay at the local cinema. There are far better ghost/haunted house movies out there than this, but you could still do worse. If you really want to see it that badly, just wait for DVD.
My rating: 3/5
I have to vote 9 out of 10 for this one! I really don't get impressed
that easily with horror movies and I wasn't really excited to see this
one ... it was just another night with another horror movie..
But then ... I was amazed with the director's geniality and the way he can scare us when we least expect.
It kind of reminds me of movies like The Exorcism of Emily Rose but in a good way ... it's dark, it's cool and a nice movie to watch if you want to be amazed with a movie. You really get the nerves on during the movie and it plays you well. As for the acting, it is quite obvious but all in all it's not that bad. You can really see the effort to make it look real. The soundtrack has its way through your brain not getting that much annoying and keeping you awake in case you're watching it at a late time. Although it is really difficult to fall asleep cause you often get a surprise or two ... and people pop out of nowhere... That's the good part! Enjoy it ;-)
Sara Campbell (Virginia Madsen) and her husband, Peter Campbell (Martin
Donovan) decide to move to Connecticut when the long journey for the
treatment of cancer to her son, Matt Campbell (Kyle Gallner) is taking
a huge toll on his body. The 5 children and her move into a cheap
rental home, but it is quite huge. The father stays back at his job and
only comes to Connecticut at weekends. The house has a history behind
it. It was actually a mortuary in the 1920's, where Ramsey Aickman was
famous for his seances which were attended by Harvard professors and
all kinds of big shots. He had an assistant Jonah, who was a kid, and
he was a medium who could amplify the nature of these seances. During
one of their seances, all the sitters around the seance were killed,
except Jonah who was never found again. But now Jonah is haunting Matt
and things start to get weirder as the days go by.
This film is 'based on a true story'. How many times have we seen a horror movie which proclaims itself to be based on true events? Most of the times its just a cheap trick to make more money. So, I had decided long back never to watch a horror movie by thinking that it was actually a true event. This film is clichéd and sort predictable upto a point. Do we have a kid who can see ghosts? Check. Do we have parents who think he is hallucinating? Check. Some cute adorable children? Check. A haunting history to the place? Check. A guy of faith to help them in their time of need? Check. A friend who will believe Matt? Check. Cats or other animals possessed? No. Surprising, isn't it? Possessed animals are quite a hit among horror movie directors. Anyway, the thing which makes the movie a believable true story is the ending in which Sara says her son is fine and has no cancer now. That would be a kind of proof that this was a true story.
Even with all of the clichés, this is a very well made movie which is worth a watch. The real high point of the movie is Kyle Gallner who gives a haunting performance as Matt, the cancer kid who can see the dead. We can see the subtle change in him when he is kind of possessed by the ghost, in the scene where he makes his little brother sleep on a metal table used for autopsies in the funeral room and spins the boy round and round and the look on Matt's face was extremely creepy. He is truly an amazing actor and looks frightening throughout the movie. Virginia Madsen needs no special mention, we all know that she was an Oscar nominee and a good actress. She pulls in the necessary requirement of the character. Elias Koteas as Reverend Popescu didn't do enough justice to the role. That's just my opinion. The father character played by Martin Donovan did a good job, except in the drunk scene, where it really didn't add anything to the story. The graphics are quite cool and it is very stylistically shot which makes it quite a good horror movie. The editing is slick and the ghost scenes look really cool. There are no false jump scares and the background score is well done.
So before I watch any movie I come here to see what it is about and
what other people thought of it. I came here to see about The Haunting
in Conneticut, and most of the reviews I seen were bad. I wasn't
looking forward to this movie because of it, but I had a chance to
watch it at a friend's house, and I was completely amazed by what
people thought about it.
Now I am not going to say it was the best haunting movie ever because it wasn't, but the movie as a whole was pretty good. The acting was good, it made you feel for the characters in the movie (espically the boy), it was definitely different as far as the plot, and even though the scary moments weren't terrifying, there were plenty of them to keep me interested.
This movie has a lot of what you would call assumed and interpreted stuff in it. I'd bet a lot of that got cut, so it is up to the user to interpret and assume what they were going for. Maybe some people aren't smart enough to do that and need the in your face drama/horror to be satisfied. I love movies that make you think, and also movies that someone else said...a reality movie. These other movies like nightmare on elm street and all those coming back from the dead killing people for 10 plus movies are just fantasy. Some would argue hauntings are also, but I do not agree. Maybe not to the extent of the movies, but I do believe in real hauntings. The movie people have to make it interesting and I am not one to bash them for it :) Overall, The Haunting in Conneticut is a good movie. I will not tell you what happens :) but I will tell you that do not always listen to what other people think. This movie was well acted, had some very innovative scenes, the plot itself while not completely different from other movies was made it's own and I do not think it deserves the bad reviews it got. I enjoyed it.
One last thing before I go. People who watch movies just to pick them apart have no business writing reviews for it. Critics have their job for a reason, so leave it to them to defile a movie. Sit there and enjoy the movie. That's it. You do not have to sit there and try to guess what happens next. You do not have to pick apart the acting and how bad you think they are. I understand when the movie really is crap, I've seen a lot of those too, but if you have seen so many movies and can't sit there and watch a movie and enjoy it for what it is then keep your opinions to yourself!
2009. The year of the almost good horror film. Less then half way
through this movie season we have had a whole wad of
horror/slasher/thriller movies that have come so close yet haven't make
the cut. Instead, so far we only have The Univited that can lay claims
to being a solid entry, but lagging behind in the just-not-good-enough
clan is Friday the 13th, My Bloody Valentine, The Last House on the
Left and now The Haunting in Connecticut.
I have actually seen the Discovery Channel documentary of the same name and the movie is not exactly loyal, but does take numerous elements into consideration when crafting this consistently creepy but ultimately familiar ghost flick. I do enjoy a film that relies on atmosphere and character drama to build tension and a sense of dread over the Hostel philosophy that spend all your budget on fake blood is the best way to proceed. Yet, as with many fright flicks the director loses confidence in the audience to stay interested on atmosphere alone and perforates the story with boo moments and just enough clichés to make it forgettable.
Diagnosed with cancer, teenager Matt Campbell (Kyle Gallner) is suffering far more from the lengthy car rides to treatment then he is from his tragic disease. Taking charge, Matt's mother (Virginia Madsen) finds a rental property in Conneticut just a short trip from the clinic. Moving away from their hometown, Matt, his father (martin Donnovan), younger sister and brother (Sophi Knight and Ty Wood), cousin Wendy (Amanda Crew) and mother think that they have found a godsend in the old but charming property. But the home has ties to something far more satanic as strange occurrences begin to plague Matt. Is it his medication, or is something more sinister after the weakened teen?
Director Peter Cornwell builds tension very well throughout the opening half of the film, peppering the atmosphere with terrifying visions from the eyes of Matt. Like most horror films however, things begin to dissolve in the latter portions as we are introduced to the token priest, the boo moments mount and we are subjected to silly flashbacks that do nothing to heighten the mood back to its original lofty footing. Thankfully some credibility is returned in a extremely creepy climax that will make you reconsider hiring a home inspector next time you look to move.
The performances, especially from Madsen and Gallner are quite solid and they keep things grounded as best they can as things go awry. But presenting its PG rating as more of a limitation than an opportunity to raise the bar ultimately left me fairly numb, even if I checked the closet an extra time the night after.
6.5 / 10.0
Read all my reviews at: http://www.simonsaysmovies.blogspot.com
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw The Haunting in Connecticut pretty much as soon as I could the
day it came out. I don't know why, really, it just seemed interesting
in the previews. I'm extremely glad I got to see it.
The movie starts off pretty shaky, showing generic creepy looking pictures and stuff in the opening credits. You'll be thinking "oh great, here we go again.." The movie starts to gradually pick up, showing a pretty sad story of a family that's been in some trouble with a 16-ish year old son Matt who has cancer and a dad who is recovering from alcoholism. The family decide to rent a house in Connecticut near the hospital Matt is going to, pretty much to make it easier for them to get Matt treated and whatnot.
Obviously, some weird stuff starts happening in the house. Matt starts seeing things, blah blah. You've all seen stuff like this before. There are some key elements that make this movie stand out from other horror movies involving ghosts.
For a movie that's PG-13, there are some ballsy scenes here. One that particularly stands out in my mind is where a mysterious man is scratching words onto some man's skin, and then he proceeds to cut off his eyelid with scissors. That's serious business.
Another thing that makes this movie a lot better is the lack of stupid little children ghosts that crawl around and make creaky noises and the lack of needless nudity and blood. This movie has no deaths or gore or stupidly awkward-moving ghosts.
The movie isn't so much scary as it is pulse-pounding and jumpy. I, a crazy horror movie fanatic, even jumped multiple times in this movie. The director really knows how to pull out a ghost at the perfect times and make you nearly pee your pants.
The rest of the movie is predictable, but satisfying. There are no needless twists at the end of the movie, like the ghost coming back out from the ashes or something. The end of the movie is the end, everything is happy.
All in all, if you think ghost horror movies have declined in the past ten years, think again, cause this movie breaks the mold. It's a fantastic ghost story and I would recommend to any horror fan.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's distressing to see the unmitigated junk that obtains national
release these days. This poorly written, ill-conceived trash leans of
fast cuts and loud noises for its "thrills" well this is not only cheap
but clearly amateurish effort at a horror film. Why? Because it takes
no intelligence at all to fast-cut scenes and match them with loud
noises. Anyone can do it.
This comment is not meant o reflect the entire film because I walked out after 40 minutes of insulting, corny nonsense. Obviously I did not suspect that it would suddenly become a professionally made film in the last half. It's reminiscent of other films that use the gimmick of loud noises and fast, jarring cuts. Fortunately for me those came via loans from friends and a borrowed DVD costs nothing.
Decades ago films like CAT PEOPLE (1942) made on threadbare budgets taught us how true horror can be created using the imagination. Apparently the people who made this thing have not studied successful horror films.
For those interested in the so-called "true" story there's a documentary around on this event that at least makes sense, not that it is any more convincing than this overblown, pathetic waste of time and money.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
So we are suppose to believe this really happened? That some dead burned kids ghost wondered around this old house trying to reach some dying kid with cancer about evil ghosts also in the house. This film received no scares from me because in the last few years there have been so many so called scary films using the same style that I almost knew what to expect before it happened. There is not one original idea in this movie. At the end of the film when the sick boy with cancer is cutting through the walls and finds all the corpses stacked behind them falling out I knew for sure I had been jerked around. Now come on folks!! If there had been dozens of bodies found behind the walls of an old house don't you think it would have made the news? I mean this would have made a big story worldwide and yet I never heard about it. It would have been the story of the century. In this case it is the biggest BS story of the century. Save your money...
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