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The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
Directed by Peter Cornwell Written by Adam Simon & Tim Metcalfe
Tell me if you’ve heard this one. A family, down on their luck, is torn between a decision of moving somewhere where rides to the Hospital wouldn’t take an eight-hour drive. So they move in at a great cost…almost, too good a deal. To find that after settling in and making a bedroom out of the basement, strange things begin happening and eventually (2 years later) move out. Worse off, hiring Lorraine and Ed Warren to “investigate” and prove once again, in being another disappointment. Did anyone else think (minus the hospital) The Amityville Horror? How many more of their “True Events” do we have to bear witness to? The fact that they keep getting their tales made from such nonsense is upsetting and terrifying in itself. *Fingers crossed for The Conjuring, which I’m a bit worried to watch* Can’t wait to look up and see how not real that one is either.
So yes, while the film states being based on true events, the facts are these. In 1986 Al and Carmen Snedeker moved into a home in Southington, Connecticut. Mostly to be closer to the Hospital for which their eldest son was undergoing cancer treatment. Though shortly after moving in began to have chance encounters with supposed entities. Experiencing things you might have heard before; scratching, footsteps, impressions in the bed with tugging at the sheets. To the bit more, extreme part of the spectrum; claiming to having been raped while in bed and sodomized while running down the street with similar claims from her husband. As well as being possessed for up to 8 hours and spending such time in another realm with the dead. Eventually obtaining the Warren’s number from a friend at work and having they stay for a period of almost 10 weeks. Performing an “exorcism” and suggesting it be best if they left. But not all too fast if they were able to survive a careless almost 3 months. A claim the next family to move in said didn’t even begin until the Snedeker’s started to fall behind on their rent; according to the landlord.
The story in the film doesn’t include much of the real tale. Not even that the married couple investigated such a story. Though it was mainly Matt Campbell (Kyle Gallner) that encountered the strange occurrences around the house, eventually it spread out to the family the longer they stayed. Also, the real family was in the house for two years as opposed to the film which clocks in a single one. Why even stay in a house for so long with all that going on? They also added a side story of Matt’s father Peter (Martin Donovan) having a drinking problem that resurfaces. Which felt very out-of-place and as though in desperate need to add conflict in some other way.
But after moving into the house of which was a former funeral parlor (accurate), the family discovers how the previous owner Ramsey Aickman would perform famous séances. Using a Medium/his assistant in order to amplify such, causing a gelatinous form (ectoplasm) to leave his orifices. As something went wrong during a particular session, Jonah woke to find everyone present dead and was burned to his death when trying to escape the house. Discovering that Aickman had stolen tens of bodies that had been stored within the walls (not as cool as it sounds). With Matt and Wendy seeking help from Reverend Popescu (Elias Koteas) who claimed in only needing to get Jonah’s remains out of the house in order to stop everything going on. When (uh oh!) turns out that he had been keeping the spirits back all along, releasing them with the house filled now, only with rage. Forcing Wendy and his two siblings out as a means to sacrifice himself. Lucky for him that his mother is able to rush in the house to save him who are then saved by firefighters on scene. Miraculously curing his Cancer as the family leaves, never looking back.
I think what upset me most was simply how un-thrilling it was. None of the special effects stood out, the “corpses” in the walls was a ridicules concept at that point. The only time they aimed to frighten came when they would throw in these monstrous trumpet sounds for emphasis that felt unplaced. In the end it was just another average movie with Actors that felt as though they didn’t fit within the script. Even Virginia Madsen and Martin Donovan failed to enhance viewing; overacting at some of it’s finest to say the least. I’ve found with Amanda Crew that she seems a very specific Actress of which I’m not sure has found a particular genre that she rightfully belongs to. I’m always indifferent towards her. Though I almost always enjoy Elias Koteas and he was good in the role, it felt as though he was trying to act much too old when I didn’t see why they couldn’t just hire someone more appropriate for the part. Though finally, able to give credit where due with Kyle Gallner. Because not only did he carry the film but was the only one to not feel coerced and played the rather sympathetic role quite appropriately. I know he has potential as long as he gets some better roles in the next couple years. But overall the entire thing felt a bit too Amityville-ish, just much worse.