Friday, October 22, 2010

The Haunting in Connecticut

Directed by Peter Cornwell.
2009. Rated PG-13, 102 minutes.
Virginia Madsen
Kyle Gallner
Elias Koteas
Martin Donovan

Plot: When Sara's (Madsen) teenage son Matt (Gallner) is stricken with cancer, the only treatment facility for him is hours away. She moves the family closer, into a house going for cheap because "it has a bit of a history." Strange happenings ensue. Based on "the" true story, we're told. Uh-huh.

The Good: It's just an old-fashioned haunted house tale. Lots of things go bump in the night. Cabinet doors click and clack, dishes move by themselves and things besides reflections show up in the mirrors. Back in horror for the first time since her Candyman days, I think, Virginia Madsen turns in a solid performance as our courageous matriarch. The story also moves along at a brisk pace which helps maintain its spookiness.

The Bad: It's just an old-fasioned haunted house tale. Though its said to be based on "the" true story, there is even a documentary that inspired it (A Haunting in Connecticut), it feels overly derivative of The Amityville Horror and through its use of a random reverend, Poltergeist. In fact, said religious-guy is only there as a replacement of the people that were used in the documentary, the folks that initially investigated the happenings in Amityville. I guess my main point here is that it seems only so much can be done with the genre, plot-wise, so the directors of these films are left to try and out-spook the last popular haunted house flick in terms of visuals without much substance. Finally, the way our resident evil spirit is suddenly able to jump around doesn't seem to match what we've been told up to that point.

The Ugly: Scissors, meet eyelids.

Recommendation: This is an OK, if unexceptional entry into the haunted house genre that works better, the fewer of these types of movies you've seen. Still, if you're going to watch it, it works best when watched at home, at night, with the lights off, then trying to go to sleep immediately after its over.

The Opposite View: Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

What the Internet Says: 5.8/10 on, 18% on, 33/100 on

MY SCORE: 6/10

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