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The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Peter Cornwell

Starring:
Virginia Madsen/Sara
Kyle Gallner/Matt
Elias Koteas/Reverend Popescu
Amanda Crew/Wendy
4 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A family with a cancer ridden son in tow moves into a house near a hospital in Connecticut and quickly discover that it’s haunted up the ying-yang!
THE LOWDOWN
Based on the “true story” (True story my ass!) of The Snedeker family who in the 80’s claimed that their new crib was Polterinfested; THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT was a frustrating could’ve been. Could’ve been if the powers that be behind this puppy had given a sprinkle of a shit about what’s important for a feature of this type that is.

This sucka started all wrong and kept up with its sad-sack approach for the bulk of its running time. If you’re gonna make a character driven story about a family that moves in a haunted house, well how about you take the time to DEFINE who these characters are and to set up your situation FULLY for maximum impact. The greats knew and did just that. POLTERGEIST comes to mind, THE EXORCIST, THE HAUNTING… shite even the original THE AMYTIVILLE HORROR nailed that key aspect. This McDonalds version of the aforementioned films couldn’t be bothered with that stuff. If you BLINK, you’ll miss them moving in the house and characters? Apart from the mom and her ill offspring, everybody else was a paper cut out filling up dead space. Shit, I still don’t know why the dad was in there! Totally USELESS.

The outcome for this twat was that no matter how many FEAR PLOYS this one bombarded me with afterwards, be it via blurry shots, SAW-ish tight edition or mucho white flashes; I couldn’t be bothered to care. I was actually often bored throughout. Straight up this one hour and half felt like a 4 hour Russian epic about sandals. BORING, BORING! BORING! Ya see, without a good base to build upon, what do you got? Not much. And that slap-dash manner was sadly applied to the UNRAVELING of the STORY and the WHY behind the lunacy too. So many half cocked ideas, rushed plot elements and even one dangling plot line at the end of the film. Dumb actions to serve the so called narrative were pissing on this one. Ya know the drill: like why do they “stay” in the house after knowing it’s so damn haunted? Or why is that dumbass taking a shower out of the freaking-fucky-blue in a house she knows is spirit bugged? Urg… kill me now man…

On a somewhat positive stab; the cast here was obviously there to go to town. Virgina Madsen was so on and she managed to give humanity to this otherwise soul-less effort. While Kyle Gallner as Matt blew me away with his focused, credible and endearing performance. Too bad the film didn’t capitalize on the fine actors it had in its back-pocket. Moreover playing “spot the rip-off” was somewhat fun for me. It kept me awake. Look a scene from THE EXORCIST! Look a scene from AMYTIVILLE HORROR. Look my toe nails are growing into claw like shapes! Bah. The only other positives I can think of was that the score often brought out hints of the emotion that the film couldn’t pull off and that the chilling atmosphere and a couple of frights did come through. But that jive didn’t come close in saving this “scare bits” montage posing as a feature.

THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT was a mammoth disappointment for yours truly. I had dug the trailers, the casting and I’m always up for a good ghost story. That’s one of the reasons why we promoted the hell out of it on the site. I was stoked for it! And what did I get in return for my enthusiasm? A vacuous, all over the place, wannabe and worst of all ANTI SCARY ghost reel. Arrow pulls down his pants: HAUNT THIS!
GORE
Other than tacky CGI coming out of somebody’s mouth, some pasty cadavers, suggestion of nasty shite (eye lids cut off) and writing carved in peeps skin – NO!
ACTING
We all know that Virginia Madsen (Sara) has chops to spare. Alas, she was barely given a shot to use them. Kyle Gallner (Matt) had the meatier role here and he was up to the task. Dude delivered and reminded me of a younger, pre Gin bottle Dewan Sawa. The Canadian DeNiro Elias Koteas (Reverend Popescu) did what he could with was he was given. But he’s a better actor than drivel like this. Fire your Agent Koeteas! Enough! Amanda Crew (Wendy) looked pretty but her role was so slim that I can’t tell ya if she was good or not in it. How many days of shooting did capable actor Martin Donovan (Peter) have on this production? Three? He was all right but again, not much of a role.
T & A
I was day dreaming of two of my ex-girlfriends doing each other in a big pool of Vodka while watching this, does that count?
DIRECTING
Peter Cornwell showed-off a good eye, managed to evoke dread via his uber stylish visuals and has seen enough genre classics to know how to echo them. Next time he’ll hopefully have either a BETTER script or a less SNIP HAPPY editor on his side.
SOUNDTRACK
Adam Swica’s score was more often than none the heart and the tension of the film. Thank Zeus for that; otherwise this one would have been completely flat.
BOTTOM LINE
The only thing THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT spooked was my time in the sense that it WASTED IT. Rushed set up, cardboard characters, quick cut editing filling in for an organic narrative progression, semi thought out ideas, plot bouncing off walls yet going nowhere... basically everything I DON’T look for in a character/relationship driven ghost movie! Yeah, the actors were bang on and the images were macabre pretty, but I thought I was going in there to watch a MOVIE not an extended music video. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was like an hour of footage from this one rotting on a cutting room floor somewhere. Back to POLTERGESIT I go to get the REAL shit!
BULL'S EYE
The account first popped up in Ray Garton’s novel "In A Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting" and then it was explored in a Discovery Channel documentary also called “A Haunting in Connecticut".

Ray Garton the author of "In A Dark Place" said at the time: "Elements of Carmen Snedeker's story clashed with elements of Al Snedeker's story, and it seemed everyone was having a problem keeping their stories straight. Frankly, I didn't notice until I had nearly finished all my interviews and began going over my notes, then I started having trouble matching up the details." And when Garton approached the case investigators about that, they told him: "Make it up and make it scary."

Kyle Gallner is known for having played Cassidy Casablancas in Veronica Mars, and Bart Allen in Smallville.

SPIT ON THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT SITE HERE

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9:35AM on 03/10/2010

It`s familiar but not as bad as the Critics said.

Director Peter Cornwell really tired to make an old fashioned ghost movie. I give him credit for that. But the script from Adam Simon (The American Nightmare, Bones, Carnosaur) and Tim Metcalfe (Fright Night Part 2, Kalifornia, Revenge of the Nerds) has some intruging ideas but what hurts the movie, it can`t escape the familiar trapping of previous ghost movies like "The Changeling", "Poltergeist" and "What Lies Beneath".

Highlights here are the good performances by Virginia Madsen
Director Peter Cornwell really tired to make an old fashioned ghost movie. I give him credit for that. But the script from Adam Simon (The American Nightmare, Bones, Carnosaur) and Tim Metcalfe (Fright Night Part 2, Kalifornia, Revenge of the Nerds) has some intruging ideas but what hurts the movie, it can`t escape the familiar trapping of previous ghost movies like "The Changeling", "Poltergeist" and "What Lies Beneath".

Highlights here are the good performances by Virginia Madsen (Candyman), Kyle Gallner (Jennifer`s Body), Amanda Crew (Final Destination 3) and Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Also the other problem is the scares don`t quite work and it goes for the cheap scares a little too much. But it`s extremely well shot movie by cinematographer Adam Swica (Who shot two movies for George A. Romero like "Bruiser" and "Diary of the Dead").

I liked this movie enough to overcome the flaws. True, the movie could have been really darker but at least... "The Haunting in Connecticut" isn`t boring.
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9:28PM on 08/31/2009
An decent old fashioned ghost story that was atmospheric, intriguing and sported some pretty good jump scares but at the same time though it was nothing truly amazing either. I thought the acting was pretty solid and the ghosts were creepy looking but not used nearly enough and the filming was ok but I wasn't a fan of the quick flashes to scene to scene but the director definitely knows how to create a creepy atmosphere. Overall most of this is pretty standard, PG-13 stuff and doesnt surpass
An decent old fashioned ghost story that was atmospheric, intriguing and sported some pretty good jump scares but at the same time though it was nothing truly amazing either. I thought the acting was pretty solid and the ghosts were creepy looking but not used nearly enough and the filming was ok but I wasn't a fan of the quick flashes to scene to scene but the director definitely knows how to create a creepy atmosphere. Overall most of this is pretty standard, PG-13 stuff and doesnt surpass other haunted house movies like Poltergeist or even The Amityville Horror remake but definitely it's the more decent one to come to theaters in awhile and is certainly better than the bad reviews it has been getting from critics. It's chilling to know that this was based on a true story but some of the things that happened in this movie couldn't possibly happen in real life but you just never know unless you experience it. Go see it you might like it!
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5:20PM on 03/26/2009

Relieved!

I'm kind of relieved after reading your review. I wasn't too excited for this movie anyway, but still wanted to give it a chance. I also had the chance to see it for free last night in NYC, but didn’t even make it inside the theater. People were cutting left and right, and the staff was very unprofessional. They probably used the smallest theater, as always. I’ll most likely wait for it on DVD.
I'm kind of relieved after reading your review. I wasn't too excited for this movie anyway, but still wanted to give it a chance. I also had the chance to see it for free last night in NYC, but didn’t even make it inside the theater. People were cutting left and right, and the staff was very unprofessional. They probably used the smallest theater, as always. I’ll most likely wait for it on DVD.
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10:58AM on 03/26/2009
I'd considered going to see this.

However, after seeing what you rated it and reading your comments, well, I'm jumping over the fence on that idea.
I'd considered going to see this.

However, after seeing what you rated it and reading your comments, well, I'm jumping over the fence on that idea.
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