Get Your Haunt On

The box office has been kind to a new movie based on real events in the Nutmeg State. The Haunting in Connecticut raked in $46.5 million, according to imdb.com, in three weeks of wide release. Not bad!

But is the movie any good? After seeing the movie, this CuT reporter can safely say: Yes, it’s decently good. Is this the greatest horror movie that’s ever been put on celluloid? No, but it’s not Plan 9 From Outer Space, either.

The basic plot of the movie goes like this: Virginia Madsen moves her family to Goatswood, CT (?!!!!) to be closer to a hospital where her son receives cancer treatments. It turns out the great deal they get on this house is due to the fact that it was once a funeral parlor and it’s haunted. (You never see “4 bed rooms, 2.5 bath, large yard, haunted with creepy spirits. Must see!” mentioned in real estate listings. How cool would that be?)

This son who has the cancer, played by Kyle Gallner, chooses a bedroom in the basement where all the embalming took place in the 1920’s. He starts seeing things that drive him crazy, eventually learning the history of the house, and realizes that it’s haunted. The dead spirits wake up and terrorize the family to no end. Gallner is able to “see” the undertaking and séances that occurred at the house many years ago while one of the spirits is secretly asking for his help. While it seems scary, it would sure beat an evening at the Meriden Square Mall in the late 80’s.

So what’s good about the movie? If you enjoy the whole “things jump out at characters from behind doors” this movie has plenty of it! While it’s nothing new, it still gets a reaction out of audience members that have seen it a hundred times before. It’s fun to be in a crowd that jumps and screams out! The acting is decent and believable and Martin Donovan, who plays the father, plays a wonderful abusive drunk. Certainly, living in Southington can drive a person drink – so we know that aspect must be true.

What’s not good about the movie? For one thing, the name “Goatswood” for a town is ridiculous. Why couldn’t they just come up with a combo name for a town, like Westbury or Winford? Also, the movie takes place in 1987 but you’d hardly know it. There isn’t much in terms of sound track. Aside from one female character wearing a cut up sweatshirt with it off one shoulder, the clothes seem oddly modern. Unfortunately none of the film was actually shot in our state. Filmmakers opted to shoot in Manitoba, Canada, where it’s cheaper. (Or maybe Manitoba looks like CT in the 1980’s.)

Ultimately, this was an enjoyable, suspenseful use of an hour and a half. At times creepy, other times gross, but all times fun…if you like that sort of thing. Do your CT civic duty and see The Haunting in Connecticut. It’s not like you’ve got anything else to do out there in Goatswood.

It gets two salt shakers for being about Connecticut and ghosts at the same time.

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