Info / Movie Review for The Haunting of Connecticut (2009)

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The Haunting of Connecticut (2009) [PG-13]
W.I.P. Scale™ Rating: $11.25

| Released on: 3/27/2009 | Running Time: 92 minutes |
| official web site | | preview trailer |
| soundtrackRobert J. Kral - The Haunting In Connecticut (Original Motion Picture Score) | | spoiler || 2cOrNot2c |
During or After the Credits: There is someing to see! Check the spoiler for details only if you want to.

Directed by: Peter Cornwell (Ward 13)
Written by: Adam Simon (Bones) and Tim Metcalfe (Bones)
Unsung Member of the Crew: A Camera Operator – Brad Vos

Featured Cast: (where you might remember him/her from)
Virginia Madsen (The Number 23) • Kyle Gallner ("Big Love" ) • Martin Donovan ("Ghost Whisperer") • Amanda Crew (Sex Drive) • Elias Koteas (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) • Sophi Knight (Empty Room) • Ty Wood (New in Town) • Erik J. Berg (Halley's Comet )

Following in the footsteps of the Japanese and Korean malevolent ghost stories comes the “based on a true story” The Haunting of Connecticut directed by Peter Cornwell from a script by Adam Simon and Tim Metcalfe and featuring the acting talents of Virginia Madsen and Kyle Gallner. The film, however, is leaps and bounds more compelling and frightening, and then with the added hint of truth to it, this haunting turns out to be truly that – a truly haunting film. The film begins with black and white photos of various families at funerals as the opening credits roll. Then it shifts to 19 June 1987 and introduces the the films two main characters, Sara Campbell (Madsen) and her son Matt (Gallner). He’s got a horrific form of cancer, and she has to drive him several hours each way to a clinic. The chemotherapy is taking a terrible toll on his body and causing extreme nausea. The next morning, an argument between Sara and her husband Peter (Martin Donovan) ends with him relenting to her will and agreeing to move the family closer to the clinic so that Matt won’t have to be subjected to these interminable car rides. She finds a house, which, sorry, looks a bit creepy, but she’s desperate and convinces the owner to rent it to her despite misgivings about its history because Matt is just in so much pain. She and Matt stay the night and no sooner does he fall asleep then strange things start to happen to him. He sees things, horrible things, scary things, but believes them to be all in his head. The doctors have told him to report hallucinations immediately as they could be a sign that the chemotherapy isn’t working and he’s developing brain tumors. So, of course, he doesn’t share any of this with his mother. Clearly, however, there’s something odd and mysterious about a locked door in a partition in the basement. Clearly, something went on in there. After the rest of the family arrives, all hell breaks loose with stranger things happening by the day. Only Matt, however, seems aware of what’s really going on, and he’s not sure if any of the things that are happening to him are real or the results of his chemotherapy. More details about the house come out with the help of Matt’s live-in Aunt Wendy (Amanda Crew), and a kindly Reverend Matt encounters at the cancer clinic named Popescu (Elisa Koteas) holds part of the key to unlocking the mystery and bringing resolution to the haunting.

... a truly haunting film.
The gut-wrenching story moves on a perilous course with seemingly no hope of unraveling with a happy ending. (You’ll have to check the spoiler to find out if there is or is not a happy ending). But, it’s the acting of Kyle Gallner that makes the film worth watching. Virginia Madsen is typically solid in her portrayal of Sara Campbell, but Gallner absorbs the role of the tortured Matt and delivers one of them more compelling and layered roles of the year thus far. He’s truly outstanding even when the events of the story are as absurd as anything you’ve ever seen. The rest of the cast does a fine job of supporting Gallner, but it is he who steals every shot. In flashbacks and apparition the non-speaking character of the ghost Jonah is also played well by Erik J. Berg. It is his frightened face and ectoplasmic fountains that make for the bulk of this twisty haunted mystery.

... Kyle Gallner absorbs the role of the tortured Matt and delivers one of them more compelling and layered roles of the year thus far.
Director Peter Cornwell does a brilliant job of pacing the film, but there were some scenes that might have benefitted from being saved for the DVD release. Some shots were a bit long and lacked foundation seeming like they were shot and placed to add a scare or chill but without contributing much to the story. As it turns out, there seems to be a bit of confusion as to how much of the film is actually ‘based on a true story’. Apparently, there was a family that move into a home in Connecticut and claimed it was haunted by demons. That’s about the extent of the similarity between fact and fiction. Nonetheless, as is too often the case with the liberties taken by Hollywood when converting fact to fiction, the story is chilling and Kyle Gallner’s performance deserves far more critical attention than has been received in the recent press. But, you know, the film critique business is a fickle one especially when it comes to horror films and ghost stories. Fans of the genre will enjoy this film despite what others may say.

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