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Wednesday
Mar252009

The Haunting in Connecticut

Here we go again. Another poorly made haunted house movie based on an alleged true story that can be debunked by a simple Google search and a curious mind. The Haunting in Connecticut is so bad and fails on so many levels that the only reason it should be classified as a horror movie is because it's terrifying to think that you've wasted precious time watching this miserable failure and are now an hour and a half closer to death.

The movie is based on the "true story" of a family who moves into a new house in Connecticut to be closer to the hospital where their son, Matt (Kyle Gallner) is getting treatment for cancer. After arriving, Matt starts to see strange things. Apparitions begin to appear, he has out of body experiences and a friendly ghosts tries to warn him of worse things to come while appearing as scary and ominous as possible.

Over my many years of watching haunted house movies, I've noticed that there is usually one "good" ghost who is trying to protect or warn the living of something evil. Then why, do tell, do they always do it in the most terrifying ways imaginable? Why not be a little more subtle if you're trying to give a message to someone? Why show up only at night staring at someone in bed looking like a charred, bloody image of your former self? You'd think that if this ghost could learn how to show himself to people while protecting them from an unseen evil force, he would be able to speak a sentence and say, "Yo, get out. Bitches is crazy up in this piece."

But that's Hollywood and everything must be fictionalized. Of course, this so-called "true story" is pretty much all fictionalized to begin with. I'm never been a big believer in this kind of stuff, but anybody with half a brain could watch this, look up what really happened on the Internet and realize it's all a sham.

The film is based on the book, In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting, by Ray Garton. Before writing, Garton interviewed the family and the ghost hunters hired to rid the house of the entities. As he was looking at his notes, he saw that the stories given by the family didn't mesh together and he became hesitant to label the book as non-fiction. When he asked the paranormal investigators what they thought, they told him that the family was crazy and that he should just make up the story. Who cares if the information was conflicting?

As for the boy's sickness, it turns out that he may not have even been sick at all. The parents thought that maybe his sightings were merely a side effect from a treatment. It turns out that the most likely case was that he was doing some kind of hallucinogenic drug and his illness was a fabrication. (You can read a terrific article about this right here and an interview with the book's author right here.)

But enough about that. This is a movie review after all, isn't it? Real or not, its relevance lies in its quality. So is it good? Not in the slightest. After a plethora of "true" haunted house movies, including more recent disasters like An American Haunting and the Amityville Horror remake, I was hoping this would be better. But the difference here is that An American Haunting was so-bad-it's-good, providing a lot of laughs and a ridiculous ending that makes zero sense, even for this genre. This flick is so-bad-it's-bad.

To say that the movie was cliché is an understatement. The scares given here were old. They were old ten years ago when I was watching the Sixth Sense, but at least that movie had some substance to it. The Haunting in Connecticut started out with one legit scare, where the ghost was very briefly shown in a mirror as the door swung open. It was startling, chilling and effective. I thought, "You know what, this might not be half bad after all." In a sense, I was right. It wasn't half bad. It was nearly all bad.

The film went downhill quickly, resorting to dozens of cheap scares that wouldn't be effective if I were experiencing a real paranormal experience myself, much less sitting in a theater. Did I jump? Once or twice, but not because I was spooked. It was because all of these occurrences were accompanied by a loud musical cue. The film wasn't scary and it tried to lure its viewers into a false sense of fear using this tactic. It didn't work.

Despite how poor this film is, I have to give credit where credit is due. The cast actually gave pretty good performances. In particular, Kyle Gallner as the sick child did a good job, even when surrounded by all of the nonsense this movie was crapping out.

But who cares? You can't get through a movie on decent performances alone. This film would probably actually be better if the performances were lousy because at least then I could laugh at it. Instead, it's nothing but a forgettable, idiotic ghost movie that will undoubtedly be a cash cow due to its true story marketing, despite not having a hint of truth to it (unless you're an idiot and actually believe this foolishness). The Haunting in Connecticut is a terrible movie and I implore you to go see something more pleasant instead. Like an execution.

The Haunting in Connecticut receives 1/5

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