x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The Haunting in Connecticut

The Haunting in Connecticut is an entertaining story that relies on surprises rather than gore.

Virginia Madsen in The Haunting in Connecticut.
Virginia Madsen in The Haunting in Connecticut.


It seems that not even the filmmakers believe the "based on a true story" billing The Haunting in Connecticut is given in the opening credits. The horror is bookended by Sara Campbell (Virginia Madsen) giving an interview in which she insists that she is telling the truth no matter what anyone else says. But whether or not it is based on fact or fiction doesn't really matter because the director Peter Cornwell (Ward 13) delivers an entertaining story that relies on surprises to scare rather than blood and gore. With their marriage coming apart at the seams, Sara and her temperamental husband, Peter (Martin Donovan), decide that it would be best if mother and children move close to a hospital where their son Matt (Kyle Gallner) can receive experimental treatment for cancer. Unfortunately, the house Sara chooses is a former funeral home full of spectres. When Matt starts seeing visions of ghosts, the doctors would have us believe that it is a side effect of the medication. The action suffers from two major faults. The first is an overuse of figures lurking in the background, so much so that it stops being a surprise when we catch sight of someone in a mirror or behind a doorway. The second is that Gallner's lead performance is simply not good enough. Despite these problems, Cornwell should be commended for trying to tell a horror story using real characters rather than stereotypes.