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Still shot from the movie: The Haunting In Connecticut.

The Haunting In Connecticut

When their son (Kyle Gallner) is diagnosed with cancer, Sarah and Peter Campbell (Virginia Madsen and Martin Donovan) relocate to a house closer to his treatment center. But if they thought the move would improve his health, they are sadly mistaken. Instead, the unsuspecting family discovers their new home has a dark past, which is about to haunt their future. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: C- --
Violence: C-
Sexual Content: A-
Language: B-
Drugs/Alcohol: B-
Run Time: 92
Theater Release: 27 Mar 2009
Video Release: 14 Jul 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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If anyone deserves an honorable mention in the credits of this movie, it would be the “foley” artists. These are the unsung heroes of audio production that use everyday materials to make all sorts of sounds… and this film is full of all sorts of spooky sounds. There isn’t a scene without squeaky floorboards, slamming doors, spirits whooshing overhead or unintelligible whisperings. Yes, it’s got every trick in the horror movie bag and, unless you’re 15, you’ll feel like you’ve seen (and heard) it all before.

The story opens with an introduction to the Campbell family and their teen son Matt (Kyle Gallner) who is battling cancer. Having to drive a long distance to Connecticut to participate in a new experimental treatment, his mother Sara (Virginia Madsen) decides they must rent a house closer to the clinic. This second home will stretch their already tight finances, but she and her recovering alcoholic husband Peter (Martin Donovan) want to do all they can to help their child.

Finding an inexpensive and spacious (but old) two-storey, Sara is thrilled at their good fortune. Yet no sooner do they get moved in when Matt begins having strange hallucinations. Believing the visions of a distraught boy and other ghastly beings are related to his medications, the family determines to continue as planned. However Matt’s cousin Wendy (Amanda Crew), who also lives with the Campbell’s, soon realizes that Matt is seeing the same young man she has found in old pictures of people conducting séances in the house. She begins to investigate the history of their residence at the local library and (are we surprised?) discovers the dwelling has a morbid past.

Full of all those iconic sounds, and a predictable plodding plot to go along with them, this movie gets less scary and more tedious as the minutes tick by. But parents of thrill-seeking youth should be aware that this teen-targeted house of horrors wanders into other areas that may be cause for greater concerns. Intense scenes involve occult themes, such as séances and paranormal visions, which result in some disconcerting changes to Matt’s personality. Other disturbing content includes a person mutilating various bodies, an attempted suicide, and depictions of decaying or severely burnt corpses that come to life. There are also portrayals of people vomiting up super-natural substances.

Thankfully sexual content is limited to the obligatory female in the shower who must deal with a curtain that attempts to suffocate her (no nudity is seen). Language is also sparse, consisting of four terms of Christian deity along with the use of a mild profanity and a scatological expletive.

Supposedly based “on a true story,” one thing is for certain… no matter how cheap the rent may be, this Connecticut haunted house is an unwise investment.

The Haunting In Connecticut is rated PG-13: for some intense sequences of terror and disturbing images.

Cast: Virginia Madsen, Martin Donovan, Elias Koteas, Kyle Gallner
Studio: 2009 Lions Gate Films
Website: Official site for The Haunting In Connecticut.

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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