Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Haunting In Connecticut (2009) Film Review
There was no UK press screening for this film, usually a bad sign. And at first glance, this is indeed, same old, same old: family move into the perfect house, but it already has spooky inhabitants. It even claims, like the Amityville Horror, to be based on a true story, and is framed (unnecessarily) by Virginia Madsen - playing the beleaguered mother - telling us about the horrific events of the Eighties.
And yet, if you like spooky films, this isn't bad at all. Sure, it has all the old cliches - shadowy figures glimpsed in reflections, frightening noises off, people too stupid to move out and leave the demons to their rotten old house.
But A Haunting in Connecticut is elevated by sharp direction from Peter Cornwell in his feature debut (his animated short, Ward 13, is seen on a TV screen in this film), and the acting is uniformly fine. Madsen is as terrific as ever, while Kyle Gallner excels as son Matt, whose cancer treatment necessitates the family's move to a new home nearer the hospital. He becomes the main focus for the ghosts due to his having one foot in 'the Valley of Death' and turns to another patient, gloomy Reverend Popescu (Elias Koteas), for help. Events escalate, pulling in the whole family - even semi-absent drunk dad Donovan, in an underwritten part - and Matt takes drastic action.
One thing that really helps this film is the score by Robert J Kral, whose dramatic cues nicely underline the shock moments and knit together the weaker ones. Then there's the cinematography of Adam Swica, which makes the most of every dark, claustrophobic corner. And the make-up effects are terrific, though I won't spoil things by describing the nature of the ghosts. And while I don't know exactly what Jeny Cassady did, I have to mention the best credit ever - Vancouver Ghost Administrator.
The film loses a few points for ripping off one of the most iconic moments in scare cinema, but it's still an entertaining time-passer; inessential, but lots of fun.Reviewed on: 29 Mar 2009