Sunday 20 Apr

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Horror · The Haunting in Connecticut

The Haunting in Connecticut

With little basis in any ‘true’ story, ‘The Haunting in Connecticut’ has some mildly scary ghosts in its mortuary basement, but the tale is too tenuous for any real frights.

Doug Bentin April 2nd, 2009


How much of a movie that is “Based on a True Story” has to be, well, based on a true story?

Is it enough that a ghost movie that is marketed as portraying actual events be creepy, or does it owe its audience at least some degree of veracity? If you think being occasionally scary is enough, you might enjoy “The Haunting in Connecticut.” If you prefer your ghostly yarns without a side order of bullshit, I suggest you order from a different menu.

Virginia Madsen, (“Sideways”) stars as Sara Campbell, a middle-class mom whose teenage son Matt (Kyle Gallner) is dying of cancer. In order to be closer to the hospital where Matt is receiving experimental treatment, Sarah moves with the kids to a house in Goatswood, Conn. — sounds creepy already, right?

Turns out the rent is cheap because the place used to be a funeral home, and a locked room in the basement still contains the implements of the mortician’s trade. Matt decides to make the basement his bedroom and soon he is being stalked and haunted by visions of a boy who used to live in the house. The kid was a powerful medium who, under the direction of the undertaker/black magician, conducted séances. I suspect you can fill in the spooky part of the plot from here.

Elias Koteas (“Zodiac”) co-stars as a local minister and resident expert on ghosts who is also dying of cancer. See, the cancer brings people closer to death which allows them to see spirits that healthy folks can’t. He quickly figures out that the late mortician experimented with necromancy, a particularly nasty form of magic that requires dead bodies to work.

First-time feature director Peter Cornwell does a nice job is establishing and maintaining an aura of the weird and mysterious, at least until the script by Adam Simon and Tim Metcalfe reaches its fever pitch in act three, bringing the thing mighty close to self-parody.

The movie’s problem with truth is this: None of this stuff ever happened. The house was actually rented by the Snedeker family. The adults claimed that they were raped repeatedly by invisible demons, among other less extravagant stories. Despite this, they lived in the place for two years. Mmm … demon sex!

The whole yarn was debunked in 1992, but not before it was turned into an Amityville-type book. Oh yeah, the idea for writing a book about the affair came from a husband and wife team of demonologists, the same pair who “investigated” the house in Amityville. If it looks like a duck and waddles like a duck, odds are it’s a quack.

Most viewers won’t care about the lack of truth in this “true story,” but please don’t leave the theater thinking that every little bump you hear in the night is a murder victim seeking revenge or Aunt Tillie trying to let you know where she buried her fortune. It’s fiction, folks. You know — the stuff people make up. If storytellers can’t make it sound stranger than truth, they’re not very good at their job.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5