Movie Review: The Haunting in Connecticut
The filmmakers of the latest haunted house flick, The Haunting in Connecticut actually finds a way to make the sound effects sound and feel scary and the actors do a good job as well.
The latest horror film “based on a true story” — the facts of which are documented here — The Haunting in Connecticut follows the Campbell family, who move into a Victorian house in upstate Connecticut in order to be closer to where their teenage son receives his cancer treatments.
Matt (played by Kyle Gallner, known to fanboys as Bart “Flash” Allen in Smallville) is slowly dying from the disease. His mom Sara (Virginia Madsen) and recovering alcoholic dad Peter (Martin Donovan) can barely accept this grim reality as they struggle to make ends meet amidst mounting medical bills. Trouble begins almost as soon as the Campbells move into their new home.
Matt is plagued by disturbing visions of a boy not much younger than himself, but he’s reluctant to admit it because he fears the disease has progressed to his brain or that the drugs he’s on aren’t working and he’ll be removed from his clinical trial. Meanwhile, the family discovers an embalming chamber in their home and a collection of creepy photos of corpses, and realize that their new home was a funeral parlor back in the 1920s. Noises, disturbances and other assorted scary incidents mount and the family realize they’re under attack from beyond the grave. The ghostly boy Matt has been seeing is that of Jonah, the clairvoyant son of the former funeral home owner, who acts as a gateway for the dead to cross over into the realm of the living.
I’ve been watching a slew of ghost movies and supernatural films lately, and even the best of them aren’t really all that terrifying so much as they are creepy and disturbing or a collection of amusement park “scares.” The haunted house movie, in particular, has been done to death; if there’s one thing they’ve taught us, it’s the bigger the house and the more remote its location then the worse your haunting will be. (How come no one is haunted by ghosts when they move into a studio apartment in Van Nuys?) Nowadays, the scariest thing about these big old houses is how much their value has plummeted.
That said, The Haunting in Connecticut is a relatively effective scary movie despite its overall formulaic nature. The actors, sound effects, and ghoulish makeup compensate when the story takes turns into more familiar territory. Sure, we’ve heard creaks and thumps and wooshes and wails in plenty of other ghost movies, but the filmmakers actually find a way here to make them sound scary again. Director Peter Cornwell ratchets up the tension, maintaining a consistent level of chills for the duration of the movie before it ultimately buckles under the weight of its effects-heavy finale.
The film has very human and relatable characters at its core — a family that was already in peril due to the terminal illness of a family member — that keeps the viewer engaged in the story even as things grow more fantastical.
Click here to read the entire review on IGN.