Amazing! Magnificent! A roller coaster ride from start to finish! A powerful portrayal of the human condition as it relates to the possibility of life after death! A tour de Force! These are all ways that will never be used to describe The Haunting in Connecticut as it’s as boring as shit!
The Haunting in Connecticut (2009) follows the Campbell family as they struggle with their eldest child Matt who is being treated for cancer. Matt’s mother routinely takes him on long trips to the hospital where he is part of an experimental treatment programme. The travelling back and forth is having an adverse effect on Matt and often takes twice as long as it would if the boy were healthy.
Deciding that Matt’s health is being effected by the commute the Campbell’s decide to rent a house nearer to the hospital. Matt’s mother Sara finds a nice large house that she can rent cheaply due to its past as a funeral home. Sara decides to keep this fact from the rest of the family, not wanting to scare the younger children or to dwell on it herself. Shortly after they move in Matt begins to experience strange visions and at first he believes they are related to his treatment but he soon discovers the true nature of the house and the horrific activities that its previous tenants practiced there.
Haunting is more of a human drama about coping with a very sick child in the family than a horror film, or even a drama about the paranormal, Matt’s suffering a lot, his father had trouble in the past with alcohol, his mother is trying her best to hold the family together the best she can, and the other children are trying to live as normal a childhood as possible under the circumstances, which makes for a tragic tale to be sure but who gives a fuck? I came for the haunting part, not the remake of Beaches or some other shite.
In terms of the haunting, the film uses the terrible history of the house as the basis for the supernatural activity. The house used to be a funeral home, which is a juvenile device – it’s like setting a film in a cemetery or morgue, frightening to children but not really popular haunts for ghosts due to the fact that people don’t tend to die in these locations but are already dead when they arrive.
The family are only renting the house, which is not a very strong bond to a place, I mean why be prepared to sacrifice everything for someone else’s property, it’s not the family home nor is there a big financial motivation for ignoring the obvious as there would be if the family were after buying the gaff.
Despite one of the main young characters suffering from cancer it’s still hard to care for anyone in Haunting as both the past and present characters are just too dull. The frustration caused by the boys sickness and his uncertainty as to whether the things he sees are real or not is underplayed and his momentary descents into apparent madness are just too much of a cliché to be acceptable.
Haunting could have worked as a drama, that is without the haunting at all, and I’m sure it would have appealed to audiences who like those sorts of films, however as a horror it falls flat. The quest for a decent, modern haunted house story continues.
Two Thumbs Down for The Haunting in Connecticut.
To discover more (the film is supposed to be based on a true story after all) then check out: