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Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Haunting In Connecticut – review

I saw The Haunting In Connecticut this afternoon.  I liked it for the most part.  I do have a few complaints, though.  Most I'll get into later, but I will say that the previews made it too easy to follow along.  I kept waiting for certain things to happen that I knew were going to happen, except for one thing towards the end that I had forgotten about.

My brother incorrectly identified Virginia Madsen as Nancy's mom from A Nightmare on Elm Street. Although she did seem to be channeling that same desperation at times, this was not the same lady.  She is the wife from The Number 23, though.  Kyle Gallner played the lead character 'Matt Campbell.' I was surprised to find out that he also plays 'Bart Allen' aka 'Impulse' on Smallville. The other interesting cast member was Elias Koteas who played 'Reverend Popescu.' The reason I say that he's interesting is because he played 'Casey Jones' in the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.

Spoilers after the image…

[click to enlarge]

I broke movie-going protocol and showed up late, but not too late to hear enough dialogue to immediately know what was going on. Apparently the son has cancer, his treatments are in CT, wherever they live is a really long drive, so it would be nice to find a place in CT closer to the hospital doing his treatments. Well, I suppose that's about as justifiable a setup as a horror movie can ask for.

After that basically everything you've seen in the previews begins to happen: ghosts begin to create havoc, etc. We find out later that the mom moved her family in knowing that this used to be an old funeral home. Really, mom? Thanks so much.

Even letting those things go, here's where I have my problem.  Whenever cousin Wendy begins to show concern for Matt's behavior, he tries to convey to her what's going on be recounting some stories they used to read when they were kids. The first story he referenced was "Antigonish."

As I was going up the stair
I saw a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away

Now aside from the fact that this wasn't a story but rather a poem, it didn't really bother me too much that he referenced it. (By the way, does anyone know where they've heard this recently? I want to say I've heard on LOST, but the Wikipedia article linked above doesn't mention it.) The second "story" he referenced, however, is the one that really bothered me because it's one of the funniest things that I've ever heard, but it continued to be referenced throughout the movie after he brought it up.

One bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.

Moving on… The boy Jonah that possessed/linked with Matt was really trying to use him to set the angry souls free. Apparently Jonah was a medium and his dad had used him in séances.  To amplify Jonah's powers, his dad cut the eyelids off dead bodies, carved some type of inscription in their dead flesh (which wasn't explained in the movie), and boarded them in the walls of the séance room. One night a séance went wrong, and everyone but Jonah died… until the dead got ahold of him.  The problem is that none of these angry souls could rest.  The necromancy that Jonah's dad used kept them trapped in the house.  Finally, though, Matt/Jonah burned the house, destroying the dead bodies (just like you learned on Supernatural) and allowing the souls to cross over/rest.

Oh, I shouldn't forget to mention the unnecessary scene where previously alcoholic dad has a relapse under the stress of his son's worsening health and the related expenses, which prompts him to go on a drunken rampage about all the lights being on in the house.  His family, already frighten by the ghost activity in the house, is huddled together in one room while dear old dad goes around the house breaking all of the light bulbs. Luckily, Matt's mom must have had to deal with her husband's light bulb bigotry before and was well prepared because in the very next scene when she calls the reverend over (after the ghosts make the non-light bulbed electrical outlets go crazy), the house is well-lit when she opens the door.

Well, that's all I'm going to say about the movie. For your amusement, here's the full Two Dead Boys contradictory poem.

One bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back-to-back they faced each other,
Drew their swords, and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
Came and killed those two dead boys.
If you don't believe this lie is true,
Ask the blind man, because he saw it too.