Starring Virginia Madsen (Candyman) and Kyle Gallner (A Nightmare on Elm Street ’10) this is a personal favourite of mine and has been since me and my fiancée watched it at the cinema ages ago so I thought I’d review it for you. You’ve probably seen it but here’s what I thought anyway.
Sara Campbell (Madsen), her sick son Matt (Gallner) and the rest of their family move into a new home in Connecticut. Matt has cancer and their new house is near the hospital. Matt begins to experience phenomena and it soon becomes clear that the house, at one time a funeral home, has a very strange history which seems to be intruding on the present.
Both Madsen and Gallner are very good in their roles, likeable, watchable, fine actors. Martin Donavan is also great as dad and Elias Koteas is as fantastic as ever as Reverend Popescu. The relationships between the characters are spot-on in my opinion. It’s a great cast overall which adds a lot of class to what is basically a ‘haunted house’ tale along the lines of, for example, The Amityville Horror (1979/20o5). That isn’t to say this a rip-off of other films, not at all, this film has its own original story and events within that familiar structure, a structure I really like actually.
I reviewed a film recently called The Abandoned (2006) which stepped outside this familiarity and was successful in doing so but that doesn’t mean the classic ‘haunted house’ structure isn’t still workable, this film proves it is, if done well, which this film certainly is.
The special effects are the cherry on this supernatural cake in many ways; there’s a wide variety of different events portrayed believably and effectively, and with subtlety too; so important. One of the final scenes which I can’t go into here (spoilers!) came across at the cinema especially well, I remember thinking it was very cool at the time. The effects throughout make what is a strong story everything it can be and are not in short supply either.
I would say The Haunting in Connecticut stands alongside older siblings like The Amityville Horror (1979) well enough. The Amityville Horror ’79 is one of my all-time favourite ‘haunted house’ films so I’m not going to say that lightly. I think it’s obvious I thoroughly enjoyed it.
There’s a sequel out on DVD on February 24, 2014 which I’m really looking forward to seeing; I hope the sequel is somewhere near as great as this.