March 27, 2009, - 2:38 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
[NOTE: I did not screen “Monsters vs. Aliens,” though I may try to see it later and if so, will post my review after that.]
After other movies about scary possessed houses, like “The Amityville Horror” and even the bad 1981 Parker Stevenson TV movie, “This House Possessed,” “The Haunting in Connecticut” doesn’t seem that scary.
Yes, there are parts where I jumped or screamed, but mostly I alternately laughed out loud and was disgusted. “Haunting” relies more on morbid bodies, body parts, and visions of dead spirits to scare you. And while it half does, it also makes you wonder . . . about bad story lines with gaping holes.
Based on a true story, Virgina Madsen plays the mother of three kids, who is also raising her teen niece and has a reformed drunk for a husband. Her teen son is very sick with cancer. The constant hour-long drives from their distant home to take her son for cancer treatments is grinding on both herself and her son, and she looks for a rental home in the city where the hospital is located. The family is strapped for cash and she settles on a home which used to be a mortuary.
Soon, the cancer-stricken son begins to see ghosts and visions of spirits throughout the house. Some are scary, and others–walking charred bodies–are just laughable like from a zombie movie. The rest of the family thinks these visions are just the imagination of a kid sick with cancer. They can’t see these spirits, and a priest, who is also sick with cancer, tells the son that those dying of cancer are in a netherworld, where they can see the dead.
A major hole in the story, which glared out at me, is when the family finally starts seeing the haunting effects of bodies once embalmed in the house. Why don’t they just leave the house and check into a motel, instead of just cowering together on a bed? Well, then the movie would end.
A box of dried eyelids is just gross. Scenes and pictures of people with giant ectoplasmic emanations from haunted people’s faces simply made me laugh out loud endlessly. They were more silly than scary. Scenes featuring the relapsed drunken dad were stupid and irrelevant to the story. They felt like they were just thrown in for unnecessary extra melodrama.
If you want to get frightened, there are several parts of the movie that will make you jump. But, in the end, this movie wasn’t that scary.
If there’s one thing I liked about this movie, it’s the constant belief in G-d that’s evident in the mother’s character and the priest. In the end, that belief wins out.
There’s nothing offensive about “The Haunting in Connecticut.” There’s just nothing special or exciting about it, either. Definitely creepy, but more gratuitously so than scary. The movie was just okay. Not bad, but not great, either.
This movie is PG-13. It’s creepiness and gross-out factors are not for young kids. But for teens, it’s fine. It’s morbid, but not offensive in any way. Just kinda silly.