Review: The Haunting in Connecticut

A solid, chilling horror story that never goes too far.

An American family move into a new home because of their son’s diminishing health, only to discover that it was previously a mortuary and host to supernatural events…

While I had my doubts initially, with the film beginning with the tried and tested “Based off a True Story” pretext and this brainless family thinking a spooky house is perfect for them and their troubled son Matt, the film actually has some unique ideas and a tone that is smartly downplayed compared to standard horror films.

The film starts out surprisingly bleak. Matt’s medical condition is brutal and hangs over the entire family, and this mood controls the first act. The film uses this family trouble to slowly increase the tension nicely, allowing the characters some uncertainty; are these events real or could Matt be imagining them? The film isn’t quite clever enough to make us doubt the possibility of supernatural goings on completely, since that’s what we are expecting, but the build up and escalation of frights is decent.

What I liked most about it was how toned down it was. There are plenty of jump scares dotted throughout, but a lot of the unpleasant moments are eerie and ghostly visions rather than blunt, bludgeoning gore fests.
I don’t know if its a particularly great film; it is your usual haunted house story with a family under attack by ghouls, but it had enough unique story beats for it to be interesting to watch. It was quite short too, making it feel like the plot for an old X-Files episode. I mean that in a good way!

Additional Marshmallows: I don’t know if it was just my blu-ray player and/or the disc, but some early scenes and especially any onscreen credits looked pixelated, it was a little distracting.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. StCyril says:

    I would have given it a slightly lower rating due to the based on a true story part.
    The actual case was investigated by the paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Most of what’s considered the legitimate paranormal investigator community disregards their investigations and findings because of the controversy that surrounds them… especially since the discovery that the Amityville case, which they also investigated, was later proven to be a hoax.
    Well… they investigated this one and sure enough, it turned out to be a hoax as well.
    According to horror novelist Ray Garton, who was contracted to write the book In a Dark Place with the Warrens and the Snedekers, it was difficult to write the “true” story because none of the involved parties could keep their stories straight. It seemed everyone was contradicting everyone else. When he went to Ed Warren with the problem, Garton wrote in a post dated April 27, 1999:
    “He told me not to worry, that the 
was ‘crazy.’ I was shocked. He said, ‘All the people who come to us 
crazy. You think *sane* people would come to us?’ He knew I’d 
written a 
of horror novels prior to that, so he told me to just make the story 
whatever details I could incorporate into the book, and make it scary.”

    The movie itself wasn’t bad… I loved seeing Casey Jones from TMNT as a priest, that was funny since it’s the first movie I’ve seen him in in years… but on a full scale… I found it to be an on-par movie. Nothing bad, but nothing really special.

    1. cinemacocoa says:

      Wow, great insight to the film. I don’t tend to look into “true stories” backstories when I review films, but you raise a good point that maybe I should, to test the validity of it all. Although a film spouting “Based off a True Story” hardly ever changes my viewpoint, in fact it often makes me more cynical of what follows!
      Haha, I didn’t make the Casey Jones reference. Nice.

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