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The Haunting in Connecticut

Some things cannot be explained 

Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Peter Cornwell 
Starring: Virginia Madsen, Kyle Gallner, Elias Koteas  
An image from The Haunting in Connecticut

Matt (Gallner), a teenager undergoing experimental treatment for cancer, is suffering more from the long journey to hospital than the treatment itself, so his family decide to move closer, to upstate Connecticut. Their charming new house seems like a dream come true until, of course, it is revealed to have ‘a past’: the house was a funeral parlour where unspeakable acts were committed, and where a strange boy lived who claimed to be able to communicate with the dead. This boy, Jonah, soon returns to unleash hell upon the family.

Based on a true story, The Haunting in Connecticut is a horror movie that tries its hardest to hark back to the glory days of The Exorcist – a movie that was scary precisely because it was made to look and feel real. In a sense, the movie succeeds: the supernatural lunacy of the slasher-movie style is grounded with enough reality to make you question whether they actually are real or not. Likewise, the overhanging shadow of Matt’s illness gives a heightened sense of reality – you’re constantly aware that the horror that the family is subjected to could be the last hallucinations of a dying teenager.

Director Cornwell doesn’t just rely on a heady atmosphere of terror to make his audience uncomfortable – though perhaps the film would be more effective if he did – for there are plenty of shocks and ‘jump’ moments in there too. Ultimately The Haunting in Connecticut is caught between the atmospheric horror of the old days and the slick and glossy ‘thrill-ride’ horror movies of today, but one thing is for sure: it won’t disappoint, especially at a midnight screening.

Damien Lankester

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Screenings of this film:

2009/2010 Autumn Term (35mm)