The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
The Connection in Connecticut
Sara (Virginia Madsen - The Number 23) and Peter Campbell (Martin Donovan) don't have the best of marriages, he's away all week at work whilst Sara tries to keep the family together and that is not to ignore the fact that Peter has a drink problem. But they have other concerns as their eldest son Matt (Kyle Gallner) has cancer which is why they have rented a house close to the Connecticut hospital where he is having experimental treatment. But their home which was once a funeral parlour seems to be the home of the dead as Matt witnesses strange things, too strange to be side effects of his cancer treatment. With the help of Reverend Popescu (Elias Koteas - The Fourth Kind) who is also dying they start to investigate what is going on in the house.
I am going to state the obvious here but it is important, here in the UK "The Haunting in Connecticut" received a 15 certificate which means that this is a horror movie which won't be trying to make you cringe with the violent and gruesome. Nope instead the modus operandi of "The Haunting in Connecticut" is to creep you out and make you jump starting with the message at the start claiming to be based on THE true story. Having watched many a true story movie I would say that yes it is based on a true story but what we watch is most likely a loose interpretation of the true story, adapted to be scarier than the truth.
The thing about "The Haunting in Connecticut" is that it only does half of the job when it comes to creeping you out and making you jump. We get those jump moments, a mysterious figure reflected in a turned off TV screen, the sudden noise or movement plus a few spectral frights which I would imagine for a young audience would make them jump. But what "The Haunting in Connecticut" lacks is atmosphere, it fails to suck you into the unfolding story and get you gripped so that when one of those fright moments is sprung upon on you it makes you leap out of your chair. It is frustrating because I love horror movies which trade on these types of frights and I just wished that the whole thing could have sucked me in to make them more powerful. The knock on effect of this is that when you anticipate one coming it rarely manages to shock you by being anything other than what you expected.
The one good thing about "The Haunting in Connecticut" is that we have some different characters than you would usually get in these movies. The troubled marriage with an alcoholic father might be a cinematic cliche but not a haunted house cliche nor is the son dying from cancer. And whilst we have a man of the cloth dragged into the drama it is a different sort of one to what had been done numerous times before in haunted house movies.
What this all boils down to is that I guess if I was 15 years old "The Haunting in Connecticut" might provide some frights but as a grown up it left me uninterested and uninvolved.
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