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Tue March 24, 2009
The Haunting in Connecticut
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
Math has always haunted me, and the recent Nick Cage Knowing reminds me how little numerology can help a moribund script. But this I do know: Both Knowing and The Haunting in Connecticut are zero-sums, worthless scary flicks deserving to be buried in this graveyard between Oscars and summer.
The Haunting in Connecticut warns from the titles it is based on "the true story" of a family moving into a former Connecticut mortuary where apparently all the bodies were not buried and may need to be because they drive this family to the grave, so to speak. Specifically it is based very loosely on Al and Carmen Snedeker's experiences in Southington, Connecticut.
Virginia Madsen, an Oscar nominee who should pick better roles lest she become wealthy like Cage by feeding on deadly scripts, plays mother Sara Campbell moving her brood to the former mortuary to be near the hospital for cancer patient son, Matt (Kyle Gallner). Because Matt is close to death, he can be close to ghosts in the house who play the standard games of darting in and out of frame accompanied by ghoulish music of the most familiar kind.
Ed and Lorraine Warren were investigators as well for the Amityville Horror, so the storylines have a familiar ring. Contrast this story with the better-done family haunting in Poltergeist and The Shining and you have a good idea why Haunting in Connecticut makes you wonder you didn't wait until the next life to view this dross, a time when you will have all the time to look at junk and appreciate how the writers could have been so spot on about the horror of the next life.
Haunting is filled with tired clich?s, quick cuts to make MTV envious, and an amusingly confusing plot?all a testament to the brilliance of 28 Days Later and the durability of The Exorcist. I'll wait, thank you, to be haunted again by those estimable ghosts of movies that live forever.
But not in Connecticut.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time and Cinema Classics shows, which can be heard streaming at http://publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/ppr/index.shtml and on demand at http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/arts.artsmain Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com